AMMAN — The Ruseifa Landfill produces 850 cubic metres of gas per hour, turning the site from an environment hotspot into a source of income, an official said on Thursday.

The Jordan Biogas Company, which was established at the site in 1998 and started operating in June 2000, processes solid waste to generate electricity and produce organic fertilisers.

“The company generates up to 35,000 tonnes of carbon annually via a project for producing biogas from the Ruseifa Landfill,” Jordan Biogas Director General Omar Arabiyat told The Jordan Times in a phone interview.

The 600-dunum landfill is located in Ruseifa District, 15 kilometres east of the capital. The site used to serve as a dumping ground for Amman’s domestic waste until the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) closed it down in 2005 because it was creating environmental problems.

“The plant, which reduces methane emissions, also generates 550 megawatts monthly from 33 wells,” Arabiyat said, noting that the company is jointly owned by GAM and the Central Electricity Generating Company.

He noted that the Finnish government signed an agreement last month with the firm to purchase carbon credit from the Ruseifa Landfill as part of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Under the agreement, Finland will purchase carbon emitted from the landfill, which stands at 115,000 tonnes of certified emission reduction units, at a price of 5.14 euros (JD4.78) per unit between the years 2013 and 2017.

The company sells biogas generated from the landfill to industrial countries as an outcome of Jordan signing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol.

As defined in the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM allows a country with an emission reduction or limitation commitment to implement emission-reduction projects in developing countries.

In September 2009, Jordan received 1.5 million euros (around JD1.39 million) in return for selling carbon credits from the Aqaba Thermal Power Station, the first Jordanian venture registered as a CDM project.