Living near a landfill, I often wondered about the countless white PVC pipes I noticed sticking out of the ground. I kind of figured they existed to vent gas from the fill, as it settled, but to be honest I never thought much about the potential of harnessing that energy.
Apparently, it’s nothing new to the likes of Houston, TX-based Waste Management, Inc., the largest operator of landfills in the U.S., currently managing over 280 landfills. Having begun a program to capture landfill gas and convert it to energy 20 years ago, Waste Management today announced a major initiative to expand its roster of landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) facilities.
The goal of the program is to create 60 additional renewable energy facilities by 2012, and to generate approximately 700 megawatts of clean renewable energy. That’s equivalent to over 8 million barrels of oil.
They hope to bring 10 more facilities online in 2007.
According to the Waste Management announcement:
“Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill, is comprised of approximately 50-60 percent methane and 40-50 percent carbon dioxide. At most landfills in the United States, these greenhouse gases are simply burned off, or ‘flared.’”
Waste Management, however, uses their LFGTE facilities to collect the methane and to fuel onsite engines or turbines, generating electricity to power surrounding homes and neighborhoods.
The company plans to commission LFGTE projects at landfills in Texas, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Wisconsin before year’s end. The company is also exploring partnerships to expand its landfill gas to energy technology to other private and municipal landfills.
Greg Galitzine is Editorial Director of TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications group, which includes INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, SIP magazine, IMS magazine and the just announced UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS magazine as well as the industry’s leading Web site, TMCnet.
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