This project is going through the validation and verification process under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). As of October 9, 2009, the Validation Report for the project was being finalized. In addition, the project's first VCS verification for 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintage Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) was being finalized with issuance of about 150,000 VCUs expected in November, 2009. The project generates more than 50,000 tonnes of emission reductions per year by avoiding the emission of methane into the atmosphere.
The Des Plaines Landfill is located in Cook County, Illinois, about 30 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago. The landfill is located at 9800 Central Road between River Road and Interstate 294. The Des Plaines River and a cemetery abut the landfill on the west side, and the Oakton Community College is located across Central Road south of the landfill. Its use as a privately operated landfill began in the early 1960's, and ceased accepting waste by 1986.
The site is owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago, and was operated by John Sexton Sand and Gravel. The site has a waste footprint of about 130 acres, with an existing waste-in-place volume of about 11.6 million cubic yards. The site accepted municipal solid waste (MSW) throughout its active life. Waste received included small quantities of construction and demolition debris, and some liquid waste.
The site is an unlined landfill that was constructed consistent with practices current at the time operations began and therefore without a bottom leachate collection system, geomembrane liner, or a re-compacted soil bottom liner. The natural existing in-situ clay has provided the lining for the landfill. A leachate management system has been installed in recent years. A low permeability soil cover with a minimum thickness of 3 feet was placed over the intermediate cover when the site stopped accepting MSW. The actual soil cover in-place at the landfill is reported to be from 8 feet up to 20 feet in total thickness.
Landfill gas (LFG) is a powerful greenhouse gas. LFG is the natural byproduct of the actions of anaerobic bacteria that cause the organic matter that exists within a landfill to decompose. LFG has the rather consistent composition of 55 percent methane and 42 to 45 percent carbon dioxide with lesser amounts of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and minute concentrations of other gases. The capture of this waste component of the landfill maturation process has considerable environmental benefits. The emission into the atmosphere of LFG is a major contributor to global warming accounting for over 35% of the man-made methane emissions in the United States. The migration of LFG under ground from a landfill can cause groundwater contamination or has the potential to build up in a closed area or a building and become an explosive hazard. The removal of the LFG will facilitate the return of this property to a productive use such as a golf course.
Methane, the major component of LFG, is the principal constituent of natural gas and, therefore, landfill gas is an alternative fuel to natural gas, fuel oil or coal. This waste product can be put to a productive use through the use as fuel for the generation of electrical energy. Power produced and sold from LFG fueled electrical generation facilities is one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy.
Approximately 200 LFG extraction wells are in place covering the perimeter and most interior areas of the Des Plaines landfill. Initially, LFG was collected around the edge of the landfill and then vented to the atmosphere in order to prevent migration of LFG to neighboring properties. In 1998, with the aim to develop an electricity generation project, some of the emissions were collected to measure emissions volume and flow rates. A flare was installed to destroy the LFG until it could eventually be used in a power generating unit.
The emission reduction project, comprising the aggregate LFG collection and destruction capacity operating at the Des Plaines landfill and described in this Exhibit A (the Project), now uses most of the LFG to produce electrical energy. By 2002, vertical gas extraction wells, laterals, header lines, condensate driplegs, and a blower/flare unit were installed, and Sexton Energy had replaced the older flare as part of the Project. The replacement utility flare device is located on the south side of the landfill.
The blower/flare unit was installed to collect the LFG from the wells and burn off the collected LFG thus reducing net emissions of LFG. The unit consists of a trailer-mounted 8-inch diameter utility flare with a single centrifugal gas fan-type blower manufactured by Aerovent, and a control panel. The blower is powered by a 50 HP direct drive electric motor. Flow is measured at the flare (and is now measured at the generator, see below) using a flow meter manufactured by the Sponsler Company (Model SP6-CB-PH7-D-4X) rated to measure flows in the range of 250 to 2,900 cubic feet per minute (cfm) as indicated on the flow meter nameplate.
The location supports the Project's 3500 kilowatt electrical generation facilities. In 2004, operations started to generate electricity using the LFG. A power plant is housed in a building located adjacent to the landfill on land provided by the Archdiocese. It has 2 internal combustion engines of 1750 kilowatts each that turn electric generators to produce and deliver the power output to Commonwealth Edison (Com Ed). Sexton Energy LLC has a contract with Com Ed in which Com Ed takes all of the output from the facility. This Project's energy is being sold to Com Ed for inclusion in the local distribution of electricity, without conveying to Com Ed any rights to the emissions reductions associated with capturing and destroying the LFG. Com Ed will purchase the power delivered to it during the life of the facility under the rates filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC)."
AtmosClear Climate Club Buys VERs from Des Plaines Landfill
In the past, in order to buy VERs from the Des Plaines landfill for the benefit of its members, AtmosClear had to confirm that the ERs would meet the standards of the Environmental Resources Trust's American Carbon Registry (formerly the GHG Registry), an independent organization whose mission is to provide support for, assist in, and effect financial transactions and other activities that result in a net environmental benefit, as well as to support the development of new markets for environmental benefits. Now, the project and its emission reductions will be in compliance with the rules of the Voluntary Carbon.Â Purchases are made according to a contract between CoolClimate LLC and Sexton Energy, which requires that all emission reductions meet the criteria of the VCS.