Closure of AMSA Landfill a Waste to Energy Project

Waste to Energy, Guatemala

The Waste to Energy Plant was started in 2015 with final completion by January 2018. This project will effectively close the AMSA landfill site which has been in operation since 1997 and has supplied the disposal needs of 4 municipalities in the Lake Amatitlan region.

The consumption of waste as a renewable resource for energy is becoming an increasingly attractive option for local and national governments worldwide. Waste to Energy (WtE) will support the 100% diversion from landfill of large volumes of non inert municipal solid waste (MSW), Tires and Medical Waste. Guatemala with the operation of this Waste to Energy plant will successfully close the AMSA landfill which occupied approximately 7 hectares and had reached its capacity.

The plant will produce an estimated 71 MW of electricity


The benefit of closure will be to the environment of the surrounding area as it will restore a “green corridor” connecting two portions of the United Nations National Park since, the land is unfit to inhabit or build conventional infrastructure given the intrinsic hazard.

The pyrolysis system used as the basis of the plant will expand in a scheduled modular fashion by the addition of a further 72 TPD pyrolysis modules as additional input fuels materialize. The plant will produce an estimated 71 MW of electricity on the basis of 986 TPD of input waste MSW, tires and medical waste.

Project Highlights

LOCATION: Guatemala
MUNICIPALITIES INVOLVED: Villa Nueva, Amatitlan, Villa Canales and San Miguel Petapa
DATE COMMISSIONED: 2015 (construction phase 24 months)
FEEDSTOCK: MSW, Tires and Medical Waste
OWNER: Simpson Guatemala
NET INPUT FUEL: 500 TPD of MSW, 162 TPD of tires and 24 TPD of medical waste

Tons/Day Waste Capacity

Megawatts Capacity

Months of construction

Availability of the Waste

Current estimates of the daily amount of municipal solid waste received in AMSA is between 600 &1000 metric tons per day. This figure is expected to grow by ten percent per annum for the foreseeable future and there is a considerable amount of municipal and industrial solid waste that is being made available from the neighboring communities.


The pre-treatment needed for MSW & Tires is essentially to receive, store, shred, compress and deliver the two streams for the gasification system. Receiving and storage will be done indoors to provide protection from the elements, reduce odours, site contamination, and pest control. The pyrolysis system will supply gas and liquid fuel to the combined cycle gas turbines to generate electrical power. The plant provides baseload power running 24/7 on a stable and sustainable fuel.

“Green” Benefits

The high diversion efficiency of the ARTI system implies significant “green” benefits in terms of GHG emissions. The total conversion of the products into electricity avoids the potential production of methane in landfills. The company will be positioned as a premium energy source of choice due to the “Green” nature of a system that simultaneously converts 100% of our waste streams into usable power or usable energy without any process emissions.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The closure of the landfill changed the onsite need for staff. Simpson Energua’s hiring plan targeted the most vulnerable group of workers. The groups affected are, the scavengers or “guajeros”, roughly 140 people, who manually sort the trash as well as drivers, operators and office staff, about 70 more people, who work in the administrative area of AMSA. Within the project’s environmental and social safeguards, the Company has provided sustained training to re-settle this group occupationally and integrate them into new job of separating wastes in a more hygienic and modernized way. Current planning projects a need for 174 people to fully staff the AMSA WTE plant operations.

The Pyrolysis Technology

ARTI has taken this known and well used process and refined it using the latest technologies so that it can be used at almost any scale to convert fuels with latent energy back into their original constituents so that a usable energy can be produced from the process. They have also made the process continuous and efficient for a variety of input fuel types. The output of the system is all in the form of usable products. The main output is syngas that can be converted to energy along with liquid fuels and carbon.