Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this past week presented Geosyntec Consultants with the 2013 Project of the Year Award for the Seminole Road Landfill Renewable Fuels Facility in DeKalb County, Georgia.
Geosyntec shares the award with the DeKalb County Sanitation Division and ARC Technologies in recognition of "superior innovation, realization of environmental and economic benefits, and achievement in advancing landfill gas energy projects."
Assistant Director Billy Malone with the DeKalb County Sanitation Division and Sowmya Bulusu, a geoenvironmental engineer for Geosyntec based in Georgia, accepted the award on behalf of the project team during the 17th Annual Conference of the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, held January 22 in Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Bulusu is the project manager for the renewable fuels facility and also was the design engineer for the gas collection and control system installed at the landfill.
Landfill gas (LFG) contains methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can be captured and used to fuel power plants, manufacturing facilities, vehicles, homes, and more. With an LFG electricity project thriving at the Seminole Road Landfill for several years, DeKalb County officials wanted to find a creative outlet for excess LFG collected at the facility.
Given air-permitting limitations for engines and a desire to save money and reduce emissions from the landfill and county vehicles, building a renewable natural gas (RNG) and renewable compressed natural gas (RCNG) project seemed a sensible solution. Geosyntec's involvement in this project started with researching potential funding options and preparing a grant application, and continued through the permitting, procurement, construction support, and operation and maintenance phases.
On behalf of DeKalb County, Geosyntec identified a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant opportunity under the Clean Cities Transportation Sector Petroleum Reduction Technologies Program. Geosyntec then developed the application for this competitive grant for DeKalb County and several community partners, including Coca-Cola, UPS, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and others.
DeKalb County and its partners were awarded approximately $15 million in funding from the program, out of which approximately $7 million was awarded to DeKalb in 2010. These funds were allocated to build the new Renewable Fuels Facility (i.e., LFG-to-RNG facility and RCNG fueling station) at the landfill site, as well as to replace 40 diesel-powered waste collection vehicles with new CNG-powered vehicles. This project was the only one among the grant recipients to include the use of LFG-to-RNG/RCNG technology.
Geosyntec next assisted the county with preparation and administration of the invitation to bid documents; solid waste and air permitting applications; and required project progress, financial, and operational reports related to the DOE grant. Design and construction of the renewable fuels facility began in June 2011 and was substantially completed by mid-2012.
Geosyntec continued to provide oversight throughout the design and construction phases via weekly progress meetings; monitor project schedules and milestones; control project budgets and expenditures; and submit monthly project progress reports. The application of these project management practices resulted in substantial completion of the facility within the initial concept construction schedule.
With this project, the DeKalb County Seminole Road Landfill is the first in the nation to generate electricity, RNG, and RCNG from LFG at one site. Some of the RNG produced by this facility is delivered into the nearby Atlanta Gas Light pipeline, while the rest is dried and compressed to become RCNG, which is then dispensed to DeKalb County vehicles and the public at an on-site fueling station.
The community benefits both environmentally and economically from the publicly accessible RCNG fueling station. In addition, the fuel produced from a renewable resource effectively replaces an estimated 2 __million gallons of diesel or gasoline consumption each year.
Notably, the DeKalb County Renewable Fuels Facility is designed to serve as an educational site for the promotion of LFG-to-energy technology and to accommodate public tours by a range of visitors, including local students and international technical delegates. __Large windows in the facility provide a safe and convenient way to view the LFG utilization process. Two large LCD monitors also display technical design and operation details, and a wall-sized mural illustrates the complete LFG utilization process for visitors.