Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WMI) has announced that it plans to use its expertise as the nation’s largest developer of landfill to gas energy (LFGTE) projects to partner with private and municipal landfill owners to develop the country’s untapped landfill gas resources. Waste Management is the first in the waste management industry to launch such a program.
Waste Management’s third-party LFGTE development team recently broke ground on a LFGTE facility at the municipal owned Madison County landfill near Syracuse, New York. There, Waste Management will develop a 1.4-megawatt LFGTE facility.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has endorsed landfill gas as an environmentally wise alternative energy resource that reduces the country’s reliance on fossil fuels like coal and oil. Landfill gas is also an important source of waste-based, renewable energy that can generate distributed base load power. There are currently 445 LFGTE sites in operation across the country, but the U.S. EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) has identified 535 additional sites (out of 1,700 total operating landfills) as promising candidates for LFGTE facilities. Fully developed, LMOP estimates these additional landfills could produce over 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1 million homes.
Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill, is composed of approximately 50-60 percent methane and 40-50 percent carbon dioxide. At most landfills in the United States, the methane is simply burned off. LFGTE facilities use methane gas to power generators offsetting power otherwise generated from fossil fuel.Waste Management is North America’s largest operator of LFGTE facilities, with renewable energy projects at 112 of its landfills. Upon completion of the 60-project expansion begun in 2007, Waste Management expects to generate over 700 megawatts of energy from its landfills, enough to power 700,000 homes.
Source: Environmental Expert
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