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Technology Research Area:

Landfill Gas to Electricity

photo of methane gas well

A capped methane vacuum well at a mature landfill

What is landfill gas, how is it used to produce electricity, and what does it have to do with TVA's mission?

Landfill gas is a byproduct of the decomposition of solid waste in municipal landfills. It is composed of about 50 percent carbon dioxide and 50 percent methane. The gas is recovered in landfills using a series of wells. It is then compressed, dried and filtered on site, transported to the end user and burned to generate electricity.

Landfill gas is a recognized renewable energy source in widespread use, and TVA has a longstanding commitment to increase to use of renewable energy in power generation.

What is TVA doing about it?

TVA currently has contracts to purchase the power from two landfills in the TVA region. We are also investigating the feasibility of using additional landfill gas resources to generate electricity.

What are the possibilities for landfill gas?

Landfill gas is a mature, commercial source of renewable energy used across the country in more than 40 states. It has strong potential to offset the use of fossil fuels and the resulting release of pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

It is estimated that its use could result in the annual removal from the atmosphere of the amount of carbon sequestered in 11.5 million acres of forest, or the reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of 9.2 million cars.


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