Converting Landfill Gas to Energy in Northern Turkey

Context

Over 90% of the waste generated in Turkey is sent to landfill sites. This waste then decomposes and releases the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. While methane molecules don’t stay in the atmosphere for as long as carbon dioxide molecules do, they have a much greater warming effect while they are there. It is estimated that methane accounts for over a third of today’s anthropogenic global warming. 

Instead of being released into the atmosphere, landfill methane can instead be tapped, captured, and used as an energy source for generating electricity.

Project

The Samsun Landfill Gas to Energy Project is an innovative project to capture the landfill methane released from the Samsun landfill site, and convert it into clean electricity.

This landfill site is located 8km south-west of Samsun, a city on the north coast of Turkey with a population of around 1.4 million people. This site receives approximately 304,466 tonnes of waste each year – an average of 800 tonnes per day.

This project will collect the landfill gas that is released from the decaying waste with a newly-constructed landfill gas collection and utilisation system. This gas will then be used to generate electricity. An estimated 54,600 MWh per year of electricity will be generated and exported to the Turkish national grid.

The climate benefits of this project are therefore twofold: preventing harmful methane from being released into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming; and providing electricity to the grid, displacing energy that otherwise would have come from fossil fuels. Estimated emissions reductions from this project are around 142,395 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per year. The project will also benefit the local community by providing employment and training opportunities, with 20-25 permanent jobs.

Climate solution #58

Landfill Methane Capture

Landfills generate methane as organic waste decomposes. Rather than getting released as emissions, that methane can be captured and used to produce electricity.

Over the course of a century, methane has 34 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. Landfills are a top source of methane emissions, releasing 12 percent of the world’s total. Landfill methane can be tapped, captured, and used as a fairly clean energy source for generating electricity or heat, rather than leaking into the air or being dispersed as waste.

From drawdown.org