Pichacay Landfill Gas Renewable Energy Project

Published by Georgia Crump on

Capturing polluting landfill gas and converting it into energy for local communities.


The Pichacay landfill site is located in Santa Ana, city of Cuenca, province of Azuay in central-southern Ecuador. When waste from Cuenca is sent to landfill here, it releases methane into the atmosphere as it decays. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is over 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the course of a century. Landfills are a top source of methane emissions, releasing 12% of the world’s total.  

“Landfills generate methane as organic waste decomposes. Rather than getting released as emissions, that methane can be captured and used to produce electricity.”

Project Drawdown.

Prior to the creation of this project this gas was released into the atmosphere as the waste decayed, contributing to global warming. The landfill operator, as part of an ambition to contribute to Cuenca as a “green city”, will capture and destroy the gas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Four engines then convert the extracted gas into electricity, which is supplied to the local grid. Having this energy source reduces the need to burn fossil fuels for electricity generation. This in turn means less carbon dioxide emissions entering the atmosphere. 

About the project

This project is certified to the highest level by the Verified Carbon Standard

AdditionalityWithout the intervention of this project, landfill gas would enter the atmosphere and fossil fuels burned for electricity generation
Emissions reduction33,237 tonnes of CO2e per year
VerificationVerified Carbon Standard
Contribution to sustainable development (in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals*)3 – Good health and well-being7 – Affordable and clean energy8 – Decent work and economic growth9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure13 – Climate Action

* Read more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We require that the projects we support meet at least 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, of which one is climate action. This means that as well as fighting climate change by offsetting carbon emissions, the projects your money is supporting contribute to sustainable development for ecosystems and communities around the world. 

The impacts and benefits of this project: 

This project contributes strongly to sustainable development both within the local area and at a national level. 

  • The release of landfill gas could directly influence the health of the affected inhabitants negatively 
  • Reduced risk of explosions associated with the release of landfill gas 
  • Emissions of other harmful gases, such as Hydrogen Sulfide and odorous compounds will be reduced. This will improve the living conditions of nearby residents
  • Employment opportunities for locals created by the project
  • Development of green energy industry in Ecuador
  • Reduced pollution from burning fossil fuels for energy

You can read more about how we select our projects here: Behind the scenes: How do we choose our projects?

Your impact

You can see a record of our donation to this project on our public ledger.

Thanks to the contributions of our members, we are reducing carbon emissions for a more sustainable future.
Interested in supporting more projects like this one and offsetting your carbon emissions? Head over to the Treepoints site to calculate your carbon footprint and start offsetting your emissions today.