SBIR Phase II: Automatic Control of Landfill Gas Collection

Period of Performance: 09/15/2016 - 08/31/2018

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Loci Controls, Inc
39B Oak Street
Somerville, MA 02143
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project seeks to improve the commercial viability of technology that enables the real time measurement and control of landfill gas extraction systems. It has the potential to improve the economics of the Landfill Gas to Energy (LFG-E) market and reduce the environmental impact of landfills. With industry-wide implementation, annual revenues from existing LFG-E projects could be increased by over $450 million. The additional energy produced would power over 350,000 homes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG), and the EPA estimates that in 2011, emissions from landfills accounted for nearly 17.5% of generation from all manmade sources in the US. The associated reduction in GHG emissions from improved landfill gas collection would be equivalent to the emissions of over 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline or 76 million barrels of oil. Furthermore, because of the improved economics, this Phase II project could encourage the development of new LFG-E projects, further expanding the size and value of this market. According to EPA estimates, currently undeveloped sites could account for an additional 850 MW of power generation, enough to power over 508,000 homes. The technical objectives of the project are 1) to reduce the cost of various system components, and 2) to address new product requirements related to third party safety and other certifications that are demanded by the market. The approach to cost reduction is to replace several commercially available off-the-shelf components (specifically, NDIR gas sensors and an electrically-actuated control valve) with custom designed alternatives that can meet product functional requirements at a 30% reduction in cost. In order to achieve the certifications that are demanded by the market it will be necessary to define the specific standards and protection concepts that are applicable, and then re-engineer hardware in accordance with these standards. This will involve a combination of component substitution and system re-design, depending on the specific protection concept(s) and hazardous location classification that are identified. The research will build upon the reliability and product functionality improvements that were a key outcome of the Phase I project, and successful completion of the research goals will enable more widespread adoption of real time control technology in the landfill gas industry.