The Yolo County Central Landfill (YCCL) has been selected for an award of $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to improve the current science and infrastructure to turn waste streams into clean, renewable fuel. The DOE grant to the YCCL – one of only 15 nationwide – focuses explicitly on Community Scale Resource and Energy Recovery from Organic Wastes.

The YCCL will evaluate the Tri-reforming and Fischer Tropsch Synthesis (trademarked TRIFTS®) Biogas to Renewable Fuel Technology. The main objective of this project is to complete a TRIFTS® pilot test and feasibility study of various technologies utilizing sources of biogas readily available and converting them to liquid transportation fuels.

“We want the thank the DOE for its award of $1.5 million, which allows us to push the boundaries of green technology to facilitate the development of clean, renewable fuel from waste streams,” said the Director of the Division of Integrated Waste Management Ramin Yazdani. “The YCCL will continue its mission of environmental protection, reimagining ways to recycle, repurpose, and reuse waste.”

Yolo County already produces biogas from organic waste. The funded project will establish a baseline of performance and costs associated with YCCL’s current waste-to-energy operations. Stakeholders, including the County’s Waste Advisory Committee and representatives from local cities and counties, regulatory agencies, educational institutions, and a newly formed technical advisory committee will have an opportunity to buy in and reach an agreement to move forward with the pilot phase.

At the end of the pilot studies, key inputs and outputs will be monitored, and fuel samples will be sent to a third-party lab for analysis. After reviewing with stakeholders, the County will determine the best path forward for near- and long-term waste management. The project will aim to inspire the Yolo community and other jurisdictions and the private sector to implement similar projects at landfills or anaerobic digester facilities.

Waste streams, including municipal solid waste, animal manure, wastewater residuals, and other organic wastes, are key feedstock for producing biofuels and bioproducts. However, these waste streams can be an economic liability to the communities managing them and often lead to a multitude of health impacts on surrounding populations.

“It is our responsibility to lift burdens from communities and help them achieve a safer and more sustainable future while we continue to set the global standard for environmental stewardship,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “These investments in bioenergy waste and carbon conversion technologies will transform an economic and environmental hardship into a clean energy asset.”

The YCCL has made significant and innovative strides over the last 30 years to reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill, capture emissions, and provide myriad recycling and reuse services for the surrounding community. The YCCL operates with an average annual budget of $39 million that encompasses landfilling operations, green & food waste composting, landfill gas control and electricity production, environmental compliance, capital improvements, and administration. The YCCL is managed by the Division of Integrated Waste Management under the Yolo County Department of Community Services. For more information, visit the YCCL webpages.

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Innovative Projects at the Landfill

Landfill Gas to Energy

The plant is producing electricity by two, Caterpillar G399, and two Caterpillar G3516 Internal Combustion engines. The five engines have a combined permitted capacity to burn up to 2,107 cubic feet per minute of landfill gas and produce a maximum of 3,860 kilo Watts per hour. The flare is permitted to burn a maximum of 2,022 cubic feet per minute, which is more than the landfill is currently producing.

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