News and Information – Landfill gas capture agreement saves money and preserves the planet

Wellington City Council is lighting the fire in its journey towards a more sustainable future, partnering with LMS Energy (LMS) to reduce methane emissions from the landfill.

LMS took over biogas operations from Southern Landfill late last year and converts biogas into renewable energy, which is fed into the local electricity grid to power local homes and businesses.

The long-term partnership with LMS will see a significant investment in a new biogas capture system and the installation of a state-of-the-art biogas flare, which cleanly burns the methane that is released from landfills during the process of decomposition of organic matter. .

This substantial investment will reduce methane emissions from the site and supports Te Atakura – First to Zero, the Council’s commitment to be a zero carbon capital by 2050 and the transition to a low carbon Aotearoa New Zealand .

Mayor Andy Foster says the new partnership with LMS is another demonstration that Wellington City Council is taking big steps to reduce its carbon footprint.

“This new biogas system is part of the Council’s commitment to our country’s goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under the government’s recently released emissions reduction plan. It will also help New Zealand achieve its goal of a 100% renewable electricity system by 2035.

“Landfills are responsible for approximately 74% of City Council emissions and currently cost the city up to $3 million in carbon credits, paid for through landfill and garbage collection fees. This agreement therefore helps to save the planet while saving money.

“It’s a win-win – not only are we reducing the financial cost to taxpayers of our carbon liability under the emissions trading scheme, but we’re also improving the planet for future generations.”

Waste management operations manager Stefan Borowy says destroying methane in landfills is an important climate strategy.

“This very potent greenhouse gas – which is 34 times more damaging than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere – is either flared or used as fuel in engines to generate electricity. renewable, otherwise methane would be released into the atmosphere.

LMS Managing Director Matthew Falzon said that since acquiring the existing biogas project at the landfill, LMS has invested heavily in infrastructure upgrades, which has allowed the biogas power generator to operate constantly at full capacity.

“The generator ran at 99.5% capacity in May. This means less methane emissions from the site and more renewable electricity produced for the local community.

“In just five months, we generated 3,400 megawatt hours of electricity by burning approximately 1.6 million cubic meters of landfill biogas. Every year, that’s the equivalent of powering around 1,233 Wellington homes a year or growing around a million trees for ten years or taking over 35,000 New Zealand cars off the road.

“We are excited about this partnership with the Council, and look forward to working with them to improve waste management and environmental outcomes for the community. »

In the coming months, LMS will install an industry-leading biogas flare, which was designed and manufactured in-house by LMS. The flare will further enhance the destruction of methane from the landfill as it will destroy excess methane which is not used in the power generation process and can operate when the generator is shut down for maintenance.

LMS has a 25-year license of occupation with exclusive rights to the gas extracted from the landfill. Benefiting the Council because the more landfill gas they capture and destroy, the less the Council pays for emissions because it doesn’t need to buy as many units of carbon to hand over to the central government.

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