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GE Jenbacher Gas Engine Powers Bowerman Landfill Gas Project to Produce LNG for Vehicle Fuel

GE Jenbacher type 3 engine.

A GE Energy Jenbacher gas engine is powering the world’s first commercial landfill gas (LFG)-to-liquid natural gas (LNG) conversion facility designed to create alternative fuel for vehicles. The LNG produced at the new facility at the Bowerman Landfill (earlier post) is primarily targeted to be used as fuel for mass transit and other large vehicle fleets in the Los Angeles, Calif. region.

The Jenbacher engine—a JGC 320 GS-L.L system for landfill gas—utilizes process waste gas and landfill gas to support the LFG-to-LNG facility’s operations. The electricity generated by the gas engine is primarily used in the gas compression and liquefaction stages of the LNG production process. The 20-cylinder, 48.7-liter displacement Jenbacher 320 can produce about 1,000 kW of electrical output.

The treatment facility will initially produce approximately 5,000 gallons of LNG per day and, at full build-out, will produce more than 36,000 gallons of LNG per day, with a methane content of 97% or greater. The project is now in the commissioning phase, with the Jenbacher engine already supplying power.

According to the federal Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), a project of this size provides annual emissions benefits equivalent to removing more than 125,000 vehicles, or displacing the use of more than 71,500,000 gallons of gasoline. LMOP was established by the US Environmental Protection Agency to reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste landfills by supporting LFG-to-energy projects.

In addition to improving air quality and reducing the consumption of traditional natural gas for mass transit, refuse hauling fleets and other LNG vehicle fleets, the project also greatly reduces the fuel transportation cost and the distance over which LNG must be transported to customers. Existing, conventional LNG supply sources are located as far as 840 miles away from customers in Southern California.

Seattle, Washington-based Prometheus Energy Company built the landfill gas conversion facility at the Frank R. Bowerman Landfill, located in Irvine, Orange County, approximately 40 miles south of Los Angeles. The Bowerman landfill is owned and operated by the Orange County Integrated Waste Management Department. Montauk Energy Capital, through its subsidiary GSF Energy, operates the landfill’s methane gas collection system.

GE’s scope of supply includes the patented Jenbacher CL.AIR non-catalytic exhaust gas treatment system, which reduces CO emissions by more than 80%. GE’s Jenbacher gas engines run on natural gas or a variety of specialty waste gases, including landfill gas.


Max Reid

There are 6.1 million CNG powered vehicles in the World.

Any one has idea of how many LNG powered vehicles are there.


Liquid Natural Gas requires cryogenic storage.
So, it is not suitable for cars.
However, an article regarding LNG trucks was posted in this site. I think these trucks are for the LA port, and would operate 24 hours per day.

Brent Emery Pieczynski

This is a nice-alternative to moving the gas to torches, for burning, Land Fill Gas (LFG) which does endanger the health of people around the landfills. Disposing of the LFG by a variety of means is a benefit, which might assist neighborhoods in gaining additional income.


The trucks were in the port of Oakland. Since LNG must be kept in a chilled state, we speculated that they could only hold enough LNG for the task at hand and no more. LNG tankers at sea run from the boil off of their cargo, the same principle would apply here.


As described it is impressive. I'm surprised this is the world's first LNG from an landfill facility.

I had thought all the landfill methane in Los Angeles and Orange County was already being used for generating electricity.

Notice they mention that LNG is supplied from 840 miles away. Until a few days ago importing LNG by tanker was in the works. But that was just killed - it is politically very hard to build a terminal on the Southern CA coast.


I'm not sure what the advantage is liquifying the gas instead of just compressing it. Methane takes more energy to liquify than butane or propane. A side benefit of hydrogen research may be lighter tanks that can contain higher pressure. I'm surprised that the landfill has a large surplus since other landfills seem to use all the production on site eg to drive generators.

Paul Dietz

I'm not sure what the advantage is liquifying the gas instead of just compressing it.

Landfill gas is mixed with a large amount of CO2, and the liquifaction process separates the two.


I lot of landfill gas is like "producer gas" from gasification. It is lower in BTU per volume. It also can contain lots of other things that are harmful, like dioxin.

Imagine what is in a landfill and you get the idea. If we had separated things, rather than just throwing it all in a pit, this might not be the case, but it is.

Rafael Seidl

Technologically, this is quite a feat. Economically, it seems like a stretch. Even with expensive liquefaction, it's almost impossible to clean LFG up completely. Better to use it for electricity generation, freeing up much cleaner natural gas for CNG-based mobile applications where emissions standards are harder to achieve.

Paul Dietz

Even with expensive liquefaction, it's almost impossible to clean LFG up completely.

I assume the problem is separating nitrogen rather than CO2.


I heard that LNG has 2 1/2 time the energy per volume of CNG at 5000 psi. SO there is some advantage.

It would be good to run the trash trucks on it. They have a fixed route and a yard for refueling. They would be much cleaner.


How about a hybrid electric/LNG garbage truck? The duty cycle of a garbage truck looks perfect for a hybrid.


It is just a lot easier to convert them to LNG than to a full hybrid. You might have to completely replace the truck for full hybrid and the operational cost structure for the company may not allow a full fleet replacement. There are companies that were mentioned on this site that make the LNG tanks for trucks already.



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