Sustainability in action: INNIO engines turn landfill gas into heat and power in China
INNIO distributor Guangzhou Shenfa Electromechanical Industrial Development Co., Ltd. (Shenfa) provided the project’s genset containers, landfill gas pre-treatment equipment, and NOx reduction equipment. Shenfa also will continue to provide technical services for the customer. More than 800 Jenbacher generator sets have been delivered across China, where INNIO is recognized as a leading energy solution and service provider in the power generation segment.
How the project began
The landfill site covers 828 acres, and it is designed for daily treatment of 1,700 tons of domestic garbage. WEID first turned to INNIO’s proven landfill gas power generation technology in 2020, selecting eight J320 gensets for the project’s first phase. Although in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the INNIO team was able to deliver the units on schedule, with commissioning in April 2021. Since then, the units have been running reliably, which convinced WEID to purchase the six additional J320 gensets in April 2022. Commissioning for Phase 2 took place in December 2022. The Wuhan Waste-to-Energy project is key to the city’s 11th Five-Year Plan and a cornerstone of several Wuhan campaigns, including its “National Civilized City of China,” “National Garden City of China,” “National Healthy City of China,” and “National Environmental Protection Model City of China.”
The science and technology behind it all
Landfill gas is composed of about half methane, half CO2, and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds. Instead of letting this potent greenhouse gas escape into the atmosphere, it can be collected and used as a valuable energy source, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating financial value. Just 1 million tons of municipal solid waste generate about 1.7 to 2.5 million cubic meters of collectable methane, enough to fuel an engine capacity of 850 to 1,250 kW producing 6,500 to 10,000 MWh of electricity per year. That roughly corresponds to the average power demand of 1,900 to 3,000 Chinese households. When the engines operate with methane, it converts to CO2, which is approximately 25 times less harmful to the climate than methane. While landfill gas has many potential applications, its use in a Jenbacher genset delivers high profitability with exceptional overall efficiencies of up to 86% in combined heat and power (CHP) applications and up to approximately 44% with power generation alone.
To deliver excellent availability with reduced operating and maintenance costs, proper fuel gas conditioning is key. The landfill gas must be dried and compressed, and severe contaminants, such as siloxanes, must be removed or reduced to acceptable levels. INNIO is committed to offering the auxiliary equipment needed to support an integrated landfill gas solution – from the gas flange to the grid connection. INNIO also can install an exhaust treatment device, if needed. INNIO’s comprehensive Jenbacher product portfolio for landfill gas applications ranges from 330 kW up to 3.1 MW of single unit electrical power output. By using multiple gensets in one plant, customers can scale up their power output while significantly enhancing part load performance and reliability. In addition, INNIO’s wide range of generator voltage levels and flexible hydraulic integration variants are available for excellent integration into existing electrical and thermal systems. Depending on customer needs and capabilities, INNIO can provide the basic module, including its control system, or an extended supply scope that includes balance-of-plant equipment.
Supporting the energy transition
For more than 30 years, INNIO has been using landfill gas to economically, efficiently, and reliably generate heat and power, including warm water for district heating in the winter. Due to its economic advantages, high efficiency, and flexibility to fit different gas output scenarios, technology like INNIO’s Jenbacher gensets is the most commonly used conversion technology for landfill gas power generation worldwide. As emission standards continue to increase, the need for improved landfill management becomes more important than ever. That’s why INNIO takes a holistic approach to landfill gas power and heat production. The company’s broad range of Jenbacher landfill gas engines is specially designed to run at full load with high efficiency, despite a low heating value and fluctuations of gas quality and pressure. INNIO’s high-quality engine parts resist the impurities that usually appear in this type of fuel. By generating electricity – and optionally capturing thermal energy through a Jenbacher CHP solution – the INNIO technology works for customers today while accelerating a cleaner tomorrow.