Historically, the Fresh Kills Landfill received up to 29,000 tons of garbage a day between 1947 and 2001*. The buried garbage is slowly digesting into poisonous and volatile methane gas deposits. The LAGI Competition Site, Area 3/4, is currently producing 19,000 cubic feet of methane gas per minute (CFM)* and is estimated to continue producing large amounts of methane through 2050.

The Fresh Clouds project is built upon the concept of harvesting the byproducts of human consumption, through an innovative use of today’s technology and materials, into a resource stream. The scalable system not only converts methane, but also cleans and converts the byproduct hot exhaust directly into energy at a local level, therefore reducing the required amount of infrastructure to ecologically convert methane to energy. Rather than building or maintaining a large network of gas infrastructure to a single distant electrical plant, Fresh Clouds propose installing micro-turbines at each passive well head, to continuously convert methane into electricity that is fed directly into the NY metropolitan grid.

The Clouds are composed of high-strength ETFE on the exterior and ETFE coated with CO2 absorbing titanium dioxide and PTFE on the interior. The high, internal temperatures of the Fresh Clouds, in comparison with ambient air temperature, result in a tremendous amount of lift. The base of each Cloud is tethered to three steel cables which run through flywheels that are arrayed around the micro-turbines, under an earthen enclosure. These tethering cables are pulled by the Cloud’s lift, causing the flywheels to generate a large amount of electricity. As the cloud approaches a FCC allowable maximum height of 500 ft, the cables pull taught and a series of vents open at the top of the cloud to release the cleaned hot exhaust. The internal temperature of the cloud returns to equilibrium and the cloud descends to the ground to repeat the process.

*Determination of Landfill Gas Composition and Pollutant Emission Rates at Fresh Kills Landfill; Carol Bellizzi; EPA – 1995; DCN 95-654-028-011

Client: Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI)
Program: Power Producing Land Art
Area: 2,200 Acres
Status: Concept
Project Architect: Thomas Kosbau
Design Team: Blanca Eleta, Sergio Saucedo, Joseph Hines, Christopher Smith
Awards: Finalist in 2012 LAGI Design Competition