Methane Gas Generation System Technician
A methane gas generation systems technician could...
|Participate in converting to electricity the gas that builds up from landfill garbage.||Make sure that pipes bringing methane from landfills to power stations are well maintained.|
|Oversee operations for pumping methane for industrial use into canisters for transport.||Help ensure that methane power stations produce enough electricity to supply local homes.|
Key Facts & Information
|Overview||Every day, trash collectors across the nation haul our garbage (minus the recyclables) to a landfill. There, the garbage decomposes into gas and leachate. This sounds gross, but the good news is that the gas can be used to create electricity. Landfill gas-collection power plants harvest the methane gas from landfills, then burn it to generate electricity. These power plants need people to keep the equipment functioning properly. Methane gas generation systems technicians are responsible for maintaining and monitoring landfill collection components and systems in order to ensure efficient power generation.|
|Key Requirements||Good eye-hand coordination, satisfaction from working outdoors, physically fit constitution, organized work habits, good teamwork skills, computer and technical skills, good oral and written skills|
|Minimum Degree||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Subjects to Study in High School||Chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry; if available, applied technology|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||Little or No Change (-2% to 2%)|
Training, Other Qualifications
Methane gas generation systems technicians generally need a combination of education, on-the-job training, and experience. Employers prefer candidates with strong computer and technical skills.
Education and Training
An entry-level position as a methane gas generation systems technician requires at least a high school diploma. Candidates with a vocational school degree will have an advantage in finding a job, as well as more advancement opportunities.
Nature of the Work
Landfill gas is produced when landfill waste decomposes anaerobically. Landfill gas is composed of methane, carbon dioxide, and small particles, all of which are extracted from throughout the landfill via a well composed of many straw-like tubes. The methane gas is filtered out and can then be sent to a power plant, where it is burned to generate electricity and heat for boilers. Methane gas generation systems technicians ensure the proper and efficient conversion of landfill gas to electricity and other forms of energy. They monitor plant operations and perform maintenance on gas engines, controls, generators, and ancillary equipment. Methane gas generation systems technicians monitor the well fields on a regular basis and record the liquid levels in the gas extraction wells. They use complex analyzers and instrumentation to support monitoring and are responsible for calibrating all of the instruments.
In addition to the physical work of maintaining the power plant, methane gas generation systems technicians keep a spare-parts inventory and plan and schedule regular preventative maintenance. They collect and track data and use databases to house the data.
Methane gas generation systems technicians work out of doors in all types of weather. They must be able to work in a noisy environment and extreme heat. Because the job requires working with equipment, the technician should be able to lift up to 100 pounds, and crouch, bend, and kneel for extended periods of time.
Methane gas generation systems technicians work a standard 40-hour week but are required to be on call 24 hours, 7 days, on a rotating basis.
On the Job
- Operate landfill gas-, methane-, or natural gas-fueled electrical generation systems.
- Perform routine maintenance or minor repairs to landfill gas collection and power generation systems, including equipment such as pneumatic pumps, blower or flare systems, and condensate management systems.
- Balance individual gas extraction wells at landfill gas facilities.
- Diagnose or troubleshoot problems with methane or landfill gas collection systems.
- Download landfill gas well field monitoring data.
- Measure landfill gas vegetative covering, installing additional covering as required.
- Measure liquid levels in landfill gas extraction wells.
- Monitor landfill well fields periodically to ensure proper functioning and performance.
- Prepare and submit compliance, operational, and safety forms or reports.
- Read, interpret, and adjust monitoring equipment, such as flow meters and pressure or vacuum gauges.
- Record and maintain log of well-head gauge pressure readings.
- Verify that well field monitoring data conforms to applicable regulations.
- Analyze the layout, instrumentation, or function of electrical generation or transmission facilities.
- Monitor landfill gas perimeter probes to identify landfill gas migration.
- Perform landfill surface scans to determine overall effectiveness of the landfill gas site.
- Repair or replace landfill gas piping.
- Trace electrical circuitry for landfill gas buildings to ensure compliance of electrical systems with applicable codes or laws.
Companies That Hire Methane Gas Generation System Technicians
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- BLS. (2016). Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2016 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- NIH Office of Science Education. (n.d.). LifeWorks. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- O*Net Online. (2016). National Center for O*Net Development. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). Alternative Fuels Data Center. Renewable Natural Gas (Biomethane) Production. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
- NASA. (2008). NASA relies on energy from landfill gas to heat buildings. NASA Warms Up To Maryland's Trash. Retrieved January 26, 2017, from www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/everydaylife/archives/0508landfill.html
- Waste Management. (2010, June 4). Landfill gas to energy (LFGTE): how it's done. YouTube.com. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD). (2012, January 5). Landfill Gas to Energy at MRWMD. Retrieved March 19, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-lDAbhDzsc
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