The Methane-Hungry Jenbacher Comes to Lebanon
Even as Lebanon takes its first tentative steps to assess its conventional natural gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, an unconventional source of natural gas is much closer to sending its first kilowatt-hours of electricity to the grid.
The country’s first-of-its-kind, landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project is under development and is scheduled to begin operation by the fourth quarter of this year. In essence, the project will convert waste to useful energy, representing a new long-term energy development model that potentially could be emulated in other parts of the country.
The project is being developed by averda international, the largest environmental solutions provider in the MENA region that is specialized in integrated waste and resource management. The technology at the heart of the project is GE’s Jenbacher J312 landfill gas engine, which will use methane gas, which along with CO2, are two greenhouse gases that are natural byproducts of landfills.
Currently, at the Naameh facility where the project will be located, methane and C02 are being captured and flared in order to prevent it from going directly into the atmosphere. This project will use some of this captured methane to fuel the Jenbacher engine, rather than be flared.
In the project’s initial phase, the engine has a maximum rated power capacity of 637 kilowatts and an annual electricity output of 3,707 MWh. This amount of electricity would reduce annual CO2-equivalent emissions by nearly 12,400 tons, the equivalent of taking 6,100 European cars off the road. As a result, the Jenbacher engine technology has widespread applications across the Middle East.
The beauty of the project is that it addresses two challenges with a single solution: how to operate the landfill in an even more sustainable manner and how to transform the landfill’s methane into a commercially viable fuel source.
After assessment, this pilot project could be scaled up to consume the full production of methane gas from the Naameh facility, which is the largest sanitary landfill in Lebanon and serves the Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon area.
Landfill gas is typically comprised of approximately 55% methane and 45% CO2, two greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Jenbacher gas engines are not new to Lebanon, where existing installations using conventional fuels generate 2 megawatts of power to run a solid waste treatment facility, a plastic recycling facility and a sewage treatment facility, all in Sidon. The flexibility in fuel types is an important attribute of the Jenbacher engine, which can run on natural gas, flare gas, propane, biogas, sewage gas, landfill gas, coalmine gas, and special gases, e.g., coke, wood, and pyrolysis gases.
The Jenbacher engine is part of GE’s ecomagination portfolio as well as its portfolio of innovative distributed power solutions. For more on GE Energy’s distributed power solutions, click here. For more on ecomagination, click here.
GE is a long-term partner to Lebanon, working both with government entities and business to strengthen efficiencies in the country’s energy sector. For more on GE’s activities in Lebanon, click here.