Puente Hills Energy Recovery from Gas (PERG) Plant  |  Case Study

Landfill Gas Extraction + Rankine Cycle Steam Generation Plant:  50 MW

  1. Commissioned in 1987, the Puente Hills Energy Recovery from Gas (PERG) landfill gas extraction and Rankin cycle steam generation power plant, was the world’s largest such facility at the time of it’s development.

  1. The PERG project utilizes landfill gas (LFG) generated by the bacterial decomposition of organic materials contained in municipal solid wastes of the landfill.  The LFG is collected through a piping network embedded in the landfill and transported by compressors applying a vacuum to the collection pipes.  Compressed LFG is processed through booster compressors and into (2) Rankine cycle steam turbine/generators.  The plant is interconnected to a local electrical substation and local power transmission lines, which were provided by regional utility authority (Southern California Edison).  By using boilers to combust the gas and a landfill gas pretreatment system customized for each facility, the Sanitation Districts maintain emission levels well below those required by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Overall, the Sanitation Districts’ facilities have successfully demonstrated that a landfill gas-to-energy plant can combust low-BTU landfill gas as boiler fuel, reduce air emissions, and provide significant economic benefits for landfill owners. 

  2. Puente Hills is the largest landfill in the United States. 

  3. Abundant and readily available, landfill methane is a renewable resource with a potential generating capacity of 3,000 MW in the United States and 9,000 MW globally.  In the United State alone, there are currently nearly 600 operating LFG plants with a 1,813 MW capacity.  Another 540 landfills are candidates for LFG generation plants with a 1,212 MW projected capacity. 

  4. LFG is classified as a medium-Btu gas with a heating value of 350 to 600 Btu per cubic foot, approximately half that of natural gas.  When using LFG to produce energy, landfills can significantly reduce their emissions of methane and avoid the need to generate energy from fossil fuels, thus reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants from fossil fuel combustion.  Methane has a global warming factor 21 times greater than carbon dioxide, the most widely recognized greenhouse gas affecting climate change.

  5. Technology

  6. The

  7. Project Development

  8. Project developer NEC...

  9. Project builder ESA Energy...

  10. Plant owner, the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, have made a significant effort to reduce air emissions and develop emissions controls in their solid waste management and wastewater treatment operations.  Ongoing projects include processing landfill gas into compressed natural gas (CNG) for use as an alternative fuel; converting Sanitation Districts' owned transfer trucks for use with alternative fuel; purchasing CNG vehicles, where feasible; and constructing CNG fueling facilities at various Sanitation Districts' locations.  Other landfill gas-to-energy facilities include projects at the Calabasas Landfill (7 MW) and the Spadra Landfill (5 MW).

  11. Financing

  12. W

  13. References

  14. North Energy Central (NEC)  |  Feature Projects:  Puente Hills Energy Recovery from Gas


  16. Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County:  Puente Hills Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility


  18. ESA Energy  |  Project Profile:  Puente Hills Energy Recovery from Gas


  20. BioSphere:  594 Landfills Turn Methane to Energy in the United States



  1. Los Angeles, California, United States

Project Status:

  1. Completion:  1987 (construction phase:  19 months)

Rated Capacity:

  1. 50 MW

Annual Production:

  1. TBD

Capacity Factor:

  1. 95%

Carbon Offset:

  1. TBD


  1. Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County

Design and Engineering:

  1. NEC (North Energy Central) and ESA Energy Corporation


  1. TBD


  1. ESA Energy Corporation

Generation Offtaker:

  1. Southern California Edison (SCE)

Generation Technology:

  1. (2) Rankine cycle steam power plants

Thermal Storage:

  1. N/A


  1. TBD

  1. Puente Hills Energy Recovery from Gas Plant

  2. Aterro Bandeirantes Landfill Gas to Energy Project

  3. Laogang Landfill Gas Project