Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Waste Heat Recovery(ST8571-1)

Modern Landfill Inc.


Modern Landfill, Inc. operates a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Part 360 permitted non-hazardous solid waste landfill in Model City New York. Model City is located within the Town of Lewiston and Niagara County. Beginning in 1991, Modern collected the city landfill gas and burned it in an enclosed flare located at the facility. For several years, Modern continued to collect and burn the gas. It also expanded the gas collection system as the landfill grew in size, as a way of managing odor and greenhouse gas emissions. In the late 1990s, Modern Landfill actively sought an alternative to simply flaring the landfill gas. Modern settled on the concept of generating electricity by combusting the landfill gas in internal combustion engines. Nevertheless, Modern decided that it would seek a developer rather than attempt to operate its own electrical generation facility. In discussions with various developers, Modern settled on Innovative Energy Systems (IES). IES built and is now operating Model City Energy, a 5.6-megawatt station on land leased from Modern Landfill. Modern Landfill has also leased land to H2Gro, a hydroponic tomato producer. H2Gro is planning an expansion to approximately seven acres. This project permits the use of waste-heat recovered from Model City's IC engines to heat the greenhouses.

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Project Description

The objective is to demonstrate the use of heat recovered from landfill-gas powered IC engine generators to provide space heating for a hydroponic production system. The seven (7) existing 800 kW IC engine generator sets will be retrofitted with heat recovery equipment. Piping, controls, and heat exchangers will be installed to supple the recovered heat, in the form of hot water, to the greenhouses for use in space conditioning.


Modern Landfill benefits from the productive use of the waste heat to which it has retained ownership. H2Gro benefits from the supply of inexpensive heat. New York State benefits from the development of an expanded business (hydroponic tomato production,) and from the demonstration of appropriate use of landfill gas as an energy source

Project Results

A seven acre greenhouse was constructed and is now in commercial operation growing tomatoes. The performance of the existing landfill-gas fueled generators was monitored. The generators produced an average of 5,000 kW. An average of 400,000 MBTU/day of useful thermal energy was recovered from the generators and supplied to the greenhouse. The overall fuel utilization for the system is approximately 60%.


Modern Landfill Inc.
Po Box 209
Model City, NY 14104

Principle Investigator

Gary Smith

Universities Involved


Project Type:

On-site Process Improvement

Technologies Types:

Waste Heat

NYSERDA Contact Information

Edward Kear


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8571-1

Last Updated: 11/13/2013