Burbank landfill in Calif. now producing electricity

SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 24, 2001 — Governor Gray Davis announced that California’s first full-time landfill power plant using microturbine technology is now producing electricity.

The Burbank Landfill Gas Microturbine Power Plant, which uses the Capstone microturbine system, began producing nearly 300 kilowatts of electricity for the City of Burbank on July 13, 2001.

“Renewable energy is an important part of the solution to California’s energy crisis,” said Governor Davis. “We need to continue to develop diverse energy sources in California so we can take control of our own energy destiny. This project represents innovative thinking that solves environmental problems while producing reliable and clean electricity.”

The landfill gas used to produce the power generated by ten 30-kilowatt microturbines was previously flared or burned off. The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued permits to alter the existing landfill gas control system to incorporate the installation of the microturbines.

Because the landfill gas is low quality, a number of critical design issues were addressed for the first time to make this project possible. For example, project engineers designed a carbon filter to remove compounds within the gas that would have significantly shortened the operating life of the microturbines.

The Burbank landfill gas project cost a total of $550,000. Of that amount, almost half ($250,000) was provided by a grant from the California Energy Commission AB 970 Peak Load Reduction Program.

Assembly Bill 970, signed by Governor Davis in September of 2000, provided $50 million to shave 161 megawatts of peak electrical load. The innovative Efficiency and Renewables Program funded by AB 970 aims to reduce peak load through projects that include renewable electric generation. $8.5 million in grants has been issued to eleven entities that include the Burbank Landfill project, in pursuit of that goal.

Energy Commission staff who worked on the project say it was challenging because of the time schedule, but most rewarding because of the outcome. The Burbank Landfill Gas power plant is the only one of its kind so far, but it is generating a lot of interest.

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