Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.

Landfill Gas‐to‐Energy Design and Support Services



Concerns over the effects of climate change have spurred actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The most common GHG is carbon dioxide (C02), which is a by-product of fuel combustion; however, another prominent GHG is methane, which comes from the decay of material, for example, waste within a landfill. Methane is particularly significant because it is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.


Landfills are often required to be designed to collect landfill gas (LFG) formed by the decaying waste. Often, landfills combust the methane portion of the LFG via flaring; however, more beneficially, they can combust the methane to generate electricity, a process referred to as landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE). According to the EPA, a 3 Megawatt (MW) LFGTE project can provide the equivalent annual benefit of reducing the GHG emissions (direct + avoided) from 24,000 passenger vehicles and can generate enough electricity to power 1,700 average homes.

Through innovative techniques and sound scientific implementation, Sanborn Head works with our clients to turn LFG, once considered a liability, into an asset Sanborn Head has participated in design, permitting, siting, construction, and/or operation of LFGTE beneficial use projects with the combined potential to generate more than 25 MW of energy. These projects include two 5-engine facilities in Coventry, VT and Fitchburg, MA, and two 3-engine facilities in Hampden, ME and Norridgewock, ME. Several additional projects are currently underway.

Examples of Sanborn Head's LFGTE services include:

  • Performance of refined air dispersion modeling to demonstrate compliance with ambient air standards, as typically required during the permitting process.
  • Assistance with the design of LFGTE facilities to allow for appropriate dispersion of air pollutants, including GHGs.
  • Performance of sensitivity analyses based on waste characterizations, landfill acceptance rates, and waste moisture contents to provide critical LFG generation curves, which allow for successful economic viability assessment of LFGTE projects.
  • Design of LFG collection systems to assure efficient collection and distribution of gas to the LFGTE facility, while limiting fugitive emissions.

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