UC Irvine's Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) was awarded $1.5 million by the California Energy Commission to install and demonstrate a 250kW Ener-Core Powerstation at Orange County Waste and Recycling's closed Santiago Canyon Landfill. The project will convert the landfill biogas, currently being flared, into clean electricity. Ener-Core will provide the ultra-low emissions power plant technology, and ES Engineering in Orange, CA has been given a contract for the site engineering and construction elements of the project. Once operating, the system is expected to reduce NOx emissions by one ton per year and to save the County of Orange up to $240,000 per year in electricity costs, resulting in health and cost benefits to the residents of Orange County. The plant is expected to be online by the end of 2016.
Utilizing a direct injection method, this project will be an Ener-Core first-of-its-kind demonstration for generating clean electricity from landfill gas in the United States. As landfills age, both the amount of gas and the energy containing methane content diminish. The low methane content poses challenges for conventional generation technology and results in few options besides flaring to destroy it. Ener-Core's Powerstation technology can still extract useful energy from landfill biogas with methane concentrations as low as 5%. Based on analysis of the Santiago Canyon landfill gas production and quality, it is estimated that the system installed will be able to produce clean electricity for 30-50 years. APEP anticipates that this long-term use will allow for additional research opportunities for students on electricity generation capacity and emission reductions. As the partnership leader on the project, APEP is committed to its mission of creating strategic alliances dedicated to the deployment of clean energy generation.