Gladstone Regional Council waste services coordinator Mark Dowley at Benaraby Waste Landfill.
Gladstone Regional Council waste services coordinator Mark Dowley at Benaraby Waste Landfill. David Sparkes

New landfill gas system will save millions in carbon tax

NEW technology is now harnessing and burning gas rising from Benaraby Landfill.

The new gas extraction and flaring system prevents 95 tonnes of methane escaping into the atmosphere each month.

Methane is even more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon, so its control is seen as vital in combating climate change.

Apart from the environmental benefit, it will save Gladstone Regional Council up to $100 million over the next 30 years in carbon tax liabilities.

Councillors inspected the new facility at Benaraby Landfill on Tuesday.

They also visited a new landfill cell which will accept waste until 2019.

The new cell is lined with a thick black synthetic membrane, which along with other features will stop potentially harmful contaminants escaping from the site.

The Benaraby Landfill is the council's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and with the carbon tax coming into effect in July, the pressure was on to cut emissions.

"Earlier this year a carbon pricing assessment of Benaraby Landfill was undertaken to assist in calculating anticipated costs under the government's carbon price mechanism," Mayor Gail Sellers said.

"Efforts to reduce the effects of methane emissions will save multi-million dollars by lowering council's carbon tax liability."

The council plans to use the gas flare to start producing electricity next year.

The system reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill by collecting the methane gas through a network of pipes.

Methane gas is then piped to a flare to be burnt by combustion, converting the methane to carbon dioxide and, as a result, reduces the overall impact caused by landfill gas.

In further stages the flare will be replaced with a gas engine to generate green power.

Landfill gas is produced when organic waste (such as food scraps and garden waste) break down. 

It consists of methane, carbon dioxide and a range of compounds including some odorous gases such as hydrogen sulphide.

About Benaraby Landfill:

  •  Benaraby Landfill collects about 60,000 tonnes of solid waste per year.
  •  Current waste depth equates to about 27 metres of rubbish.
  •  In the future, the flare will be replaced with a gas engine and Benaraby Landfill gas will be used to generate green power. One megawatt will be required to power 1500 houses.
  •  The Carbon Abatement project means 95 tonnes of methane destroyed monthly and this equates annually to any one of the following: removing 4269 cars from the road; preserving 216 acres of forest from deforestation;  and avoiding consumption of 50,634 barrels of oil.


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