Bethlehem Landfill strategically places gas-extraction wells throughout the landfill. These wells capture landfill gas, which is naturally occurring as part of landfill operations. The landfill gas is then diverted to the adjacent Bethlehem Renewable Energy plant, which converts the gas to electricity.
Landfill gas can be transformed into a cost-effective fuel source to power an engine that generates electricity. Electricity produced with landfill gases helps to feed the grid that powers homes and businesses.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the Bethlehem facility is one of 24 operational gas-to-energy projects in the state. The PADEP estimates these projects generate 60 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 38,000 homes for a year. The state’s landfill-gas-to-energy projects reduce emissions that are equivalent to taking 47,027 cars off the road; offset the use of 1,202 railcars of coal; prevent the use of 570,332 barrels of oil; and equal the beneficial effect of planting 72,448 acres of forest.
Bethlehem Renewable’s 5-megawatt plant aids Lower Saucon Township by producing roughly enough electricity annually to power more than 3,300 homes. It also offsets the need for 6,400 tons of coal and 28,500 barrels of oil each year.