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Landfill Methane Outreach Program

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Project Profile

Sioux Falls Landfill and POET Ethanol Direct-Use Project

LMOP Award Winner  Self Developed (Absence of third party developer)
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
End User(s):
Ethanol Production
Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill
Landfill Size:
10.2 million tons waste-in-place (2008)
Project Type:
Boiler (steam for ethanol production)
Project Size:
1,250 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm)
Environmental Benefits:
Carbon sequestered annually by 31,500 acres of pine or fir forests, annual greenhouse gas emissions from 28,300 passenger vehicles, or carbon dioxide emissions from 344,100 barrels of oil consumed. Annual energy savings equate to heating 4,200 homes. Estimated emissions reductions of 0.0404 million metric tons of carbon equivalents.
LMOP Partners Involved:
Mickelson & Company, LLC, POET, TerraPass, Inc., Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill, Unison Solutions Inc.
Last Updated:

Aerial photo of the landfill site, where the city expanded and improved the LFG collection system, thus doubling the amount of LFG recovered.

With continually increasing flows of landfill gas (LFG) from the city landfill, Sioux Falls investigated how to utilize the gas for energy rather than flaring it. A 2006 feasibility study investigated whether the increasing LFG flow should be used for energy production at a nearby ethanol production plant or whether it should be used to generate electricity.

Based on study results, the city chose to capture, clean, and pipe the LFG for energy utilization at the ethanol plant. In 2009, the ethanol plant began utilizing the LFG in a wood waste-fuel boiler to generate additional energy. LFG displaces about 10 percent of the plant's natural gas consumption, which is expected to increase to 30 percent by 2025. The project earned recognition as a 2009 LMOP Project of the Year.

The city doubled the amount of LFG collected by expanding and improving the gas collection system, its associated controls, and a leachate system. Dual-phase collection wells collect LFG and pump leachate out of the active collection area. A new data acquisition and control system optimizes LFG recovery and processing and allows the city to monitor and adjust LFG in real time. LFG collection efficiency is about 90 percent.

Because of the pending South Dakota winter, the compressor building was built before (instead of after) installation of the system that filters, dries, and compresses the gas. Thus, the treatment skid had to be placed inside the already-constructed building. In addition, the city's pipeline contractor utilized a Fast Fusion welder to help install 11 miles of pipeline in just two months, before snow covered the ground.

The city decided to install and maintain ownership of the pipeline because the feasibility study showed that city ownership was the most viable of the ownership options. Funds for the pipeline came from tipping fees. With revenue from LFG sales and carbon credits, the project is expected to pay for itself in four years. Following that, the city expects to fund improvements and additional programs at the landfill.

This is truly a win-win for the City of Sioux Falls, POET, our community and customers of the landfill. The City feels fortunate to be able to make a significant impact on the environment and improve revenue at the landfill at the same time. —Dave Munson, former Mayor, Sioux Falls

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