SCS Engineers Helps Frederick County Regional Landfill Convert its Greenhouse Gases into Energy and Income

November 8, 2010


Winchester, VA– Frederick County and SCS Engineers along with SCS Field Services (SCS) held a ribbon-cutting and switch-flipping ceremony on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, to inaugurate the new landfill gas-to-energy (LFGE) system installed at the Frederick County Regional Landfill.

The $4.5 million project was completed by a partnership between the county’s Department of Public Works and SCS. SCS Engineers provided engineering, and SCS Field Services provided contracting services for the project. Joe Wilder, the department’s deputy director, notes that the project was funded from landfill revenues.

The project will generate revenues through the recovery and use of methane gas which is generated by the gradual decomposition of solid waste in the landfill. Combustion of the methane gas will substantially reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from this landfill. To capture the landfill gas, wells were drilled into the waste mass at various points, according to Darrin D. Dillah, an SCS Vice President. A vacuum draws the gas from the wells, which are located in both the closed and active parts of the landfill, and transmits it to the power generation facility. System components remove water from the gas, which is then compressed before being sent to the internal combustion (IC) engines.

Each of the two IC engines has 20 cylinders and generates just under 1,500 horsepower, Dillah said, equivalent to about 1 megawatt of electricity. The electricity is connected to the local power grid. “The electricity generated here is being used in nearby homes and industrial plants.”

“This mature technology has been used throughout the world for decades,” said Jim Walsh, President and CEO of SCS. “It’s a good marriage of environmental protection and energy generation, two objectives that are more often in conflict. But in this and similar projects the fuel value of landfill gas helps pay for a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” Walsh said.

Richard Shickle Sr., Chairman of the Frederick County’s Board of Supervisors, said that the project is another step in the county’s work toward environmental protection.

“Today, Frederick County and the Frederick County Landfill staff are walking the walk when it comes to renewable energy,” Shickle read from a statement earlier. “In the last decade the awareness of one’s carbon footprint and the push to reduce greenhouse gases has steadily grown.” For 10 years, the landfill has voluntarily destroyed its landfill gases, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and its “carbon footprint,” Shickle noted. “These voluntary actions have put Frederick County ahead of the curve,” Shickle said.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, which provides power to part of the county, will be buying the power generated by the facility, according to Mr. Wilder.