California hires TIAX to create electricity from its landfills

November 11, 2002 — TIAX LLC has been selected by the California Energy Commission to develop a low emission technology to generate electricity from landfills.

The goal of the project is to use hydrogen-enriched biogas fuel derived from a landfill to power a 75-kilowatt generation unit with very low nitrogen oxide emissions.

“This technology could drastically bring down the cost of electricity generation from these unlikely sources, and considerably lower air pollution emissions,” said California Governor Gray Davis in announcing this and four other projects, which are part of a recent initiative of the Energy Commission to increase electricity production from biogas. Other sources of biogas being considered for increased electricity generation include livestock farms and food processing and wastewater treatment plants.

The anaerobic digestion process in landfills produces a methane-rich “biogas” that can be used to fuel generators. Sources of this gas are ample in California where there are at least 3,000 landfills and 2,000 dairies and swine farms. Power produced from the biogas can be either sold to the grid or used in-house by these biomass energy locations.

The Energy Commission estimates that “biogas” sites will have the potential to produce up to 240 megawatts. One megawatt is enough electricity to power 1,000 California homes.

The landfill project is one of two recent awards TIAX has secured with the California Energy Commission. TIAX will also provide expert technical assistance to the state for transportation technologies, global climate change and fossil fuel alternatives. The total value of the two awards is $2.3 million.

“Our goal is to develop technology for biogas-fueled internal combustion engines that produces clean power: we believe we can achieve greater than 90 percent reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions compared to current generation approaches,” said Larry Waterland, Project Manager at TIAX. “This technology is an exciting step toward making renewable power a practical, low emission option.”


TIAX LLC ( is a technology, product development, and technology-based consulting firm operating at the intersection of business and technology. Formerly Arthur D. Little’s Technology & Innovation business, TIAX is ISO 9001 registered and has more than 50 research and development laboratories.

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