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Landfill Methane Outreach Program

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Project Profile

Catawba County Landfill Gas Energy Project

LMOP Award Winner
Newton, North Carolina
End User(s):
Duke Energy
Blackburn Landfill
Landfill Size:
2.68 million tons waste-in-place (2003)
Project Type:
Reciprocating Engine (three)
Project Size:
3 megawatts (MW)
$7.1 million over 15 years
Environmental Benefits:
Carbon sequestered annually by 27,200 acres of pine or fir forests, annual greenhouse gas emissions from 24,400 passenger vehicles, or carbon dioxide emissions from 296,800 barrels of oil consumed. Annual energy savings equate to powering 1,800 homes. Estimated emissions reductions of 0.0348 million metric tons of carbon equivalents.
LMOP Partners Involved:
Catawba County, Duke Energy Generation Services, Enerdyne Power Systems, GE Energy - Jenbacher Gas Engines
Last Updated:

One way to prevent landfill gas (LFG) migration is to flare the gas, but a better way is to burn it to produce electricity. That's exactly what Catawba County, NC leaders decided to do after consulting with LMOP, McGill Associates (a local engineering firm), and Enerdyne Power Systems—LMOP's 1999 Industry Partner of the Year. Catawba County sells electricity to Duke Energy for distribution over the public power grid.

The project's highlights include:

  • Reduced LFG migration and reduced emissions, which are good for the community.
  • 20-cylinder GE Jenbacher 1,400-horsepower engines, designed specifically to burn LFG.
  • Promising revenues from electricity generation.

Catawba County staff investigated different alternatives and methods to harness the power of LFG, ultimately deciding that a public/private partnership to produce electricity was the most economical approach. By forming a public/private partnership, the county avoided spending $2.5 million to collect the LFG. Instead, they used the savings to purchase methane-powered engines coupled with generators to produce electricity.

Over a 15-year period, the county expects to purchase three additional engines and generate revenue of approximately $7.1 million. The revenue produced from this project will enable Catawba County to maintain its current solid waste tipping fee for the next 10 years.

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