Dubai opens GCC's biggest gas recovery system at Al Qusais landfill site

The new gas recovery system is expected to reduce the release of approximately 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the landfill.

DUBAI // The biggest methane gas recovery system in the Middle East has opened at Al Qusais landfill.

About 5,000 tonnes of rubbish is dumped at the 20-year-old site every day. As this rots, harmful greenhouse gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere.

The new system, launched today by Dubai Municipality, aims to capture the gas and use it to generate electricity.

The facility has been dubbed Station 2020 because it is expected to eventually have a 20 megawatt (MW) capacity and run for the next 20 years.

"The power generated will be used to operate municipality equipment in the area," said Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

"But this is only for the time being as we have plans to link with the Dewa [Dubai Electricity and Water Authority] grid in the near future.

"This will allow us to contribute clean sources of energy back into the city's power grid."

The system works by gathering gas through a 22-kilometre network of pipes that collect 6,000 cubic metres of methane per hour.

The pipes are connected to 126 wells that run 20 metres deep and link to 12 gas stations.

"At the moment this system covers about 20 per cent of the gas this landfill produces," Mr Lootah said.

At this rate, Station 2020 generates about 1MW of power, which will be used to power a GE Jenbacher gas engine that flares off methane. The system was designed and built by Dubai company Green Energy Solutions and Sustainability Solutions LLC.

"Methane is considered 21 times more harmful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is," said the business development director, Anita Nouri.

About 55 per cent of the gas produced by the landfill is methane.

"The flare system burns off the methane gas and turns it to carbon dioxide," Ms Nouri said. "The engines used to operate the flares are also fuelled by some of the gas collected instead of using fossil fuels, which makes it a green system."

The flares will result in an annual reduction of approximately 250,000 tonnes of CO2.

Ms Nouri said the project was being registered with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and it was hoped it would be recognised as a Clean Development Mechanism by next month.