Methane-to-energy generator commissioned in Easton

EASTON — Easton Utilities officially commissioned a generator that converts methane gas into green energy.

By The Star Democrat  |  Jan 4, 2017

“This project is mutually beneficial for the environment, our customers and the town of Easton,” said Hugh E. Grunden, president and CEO of Easton Utilities.

Easton Utilities purchased a used generator from another landfill, which created a cost-effective solution, Easton Utilities said in a press release. The expected life of the project in Easton is expected to last eight to 10 years, depending on the landfill’s ability to produce gas.

Currently, landfill gas is extracted continuously and most of the gas is sent to the generator, which can produce up to one megawatt of electricity — enough to power about 700 homes.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methane gas is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the U.S. from human activities. It is one of the four greenhouse gasses the EPA has identified that traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.

Maryland Environmental Service (MES) installed compressors at the landfill and is handling the logistics regarding supply and flow.

“MES, along with our partner Mid-Shore counties (Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot), is excited about our partnership with Easton Utilities, which will allow us to use landfill gas from the Midshore Landfill to generate clean energy,” said Steven Tomczewski, environmental operations executive director for MES. “This project is part of a much larger commitment by MES to strengthen public and private partnerships which reinforce the state of Maryland’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship.”

The landfill gas-to-electric generator is just one component of the Easton Sustainability Campus, located at Easton’s Wastewater Treatment Facility off Barkers Landing Road.

Additionally, construction of a two-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar array is set to begin in the coming months and will produce about 100 percent of the wastewater treatment facility’s annual electrical consumption.

“This 2 MW solar array is the most cost effective way to bring solar energy to every single Easton Utilities electric customer, regardless of housing situation, income, location, homeowner or renter,” added Grunden.

Co-located at the town’s Enhanced Nutrient Removal Wastewater Treatment Facility, these projects create a system of multiple, diverse, renewable energy sources within the Easton community, Easton Utilities said.