Cogeneration technology helps landfills reduce wastewater management costs

More than 60% of landfills dispose of their leachate by transporting it to municipal wastewater treatment plants.  Trucking costs, as well as municipal operators’ growing reluctance to accept leachate due to the challenges leachate brings to their treatment processes, are driving up costs of leachate disposal and the costs of managing a landfill.Many landfills over the past two decades have developed valuable waste-to-energy projects, generating renewable energy from the biogas created through the decomposition of organic materials within the landfill. The vast majority of these biogas-to-energy projects are ‘simple cycle’ power generation configurations – meaning the ample energy available in the hot exhaust produced by the power generation equipment is vented to atmosphere and not used beneficially. A landfill in the eastern US is using this hot exhaust energy from its biogas-to-energy plant to evaporate leachate on site using a novel solution by Heartland Water Technology. By using this freely available energy and treating leachate onsite, the landfill is taking positive control over its leachate management, generating even more value out of its renewable biogas, lowering its total cost-to-treat and significantly reducing its dependency on municipal wastewater treatment plants.