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As Summer Temperatures Push Demand for Energy in the Bay Area, Waste Management Responds with Energy for 8,500 Homes; Landfill Gas-To-Energy Generators Transform Methane Gas Into Green Power.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- With summer temperatures soaring throughout California and leading to stress on the state's power suppliers, one Bay Area company is offering a better way to help keep local residents cool. Waste Management's Altamont Landfill, near Livermore, and Guadalupe Landfill, near San Jose San Jose, city, United States
San Jose (sănəzā`, săn hōzā`), city (1990 pop. 782,248), seat of Santa Clara co., W central Calif.; founded 1777, inc. 1850.
, are currently generating enough clean energy to power 8,500 Bay Area homes.

The approximately eight megawatts, which are produced by capturing landfill methane methane (mĕth`ān), CH4, colorless, odorless, gaseous saturated hydrocarbon; the simplest alkane. It is less dense than air, melts at −184°C;, and boils at −161.4°C;.  gas, a natural by-product by·prod·uct or by-prod·uct  
1. Something produced in the making of something else.

2. A secondary result; a side effect.


 of decomposing garbage garbage: see solid waste. , are fed directly to the local power grid. Methane gas is captured in a series of wells throughout the landfill, which is then fed into a natural gas turbine where it is converted into electricity.

Since 1989, the Altamont Landfill has operated landfill gas-to-energy generators that transform methane gas into "green power." Pacific Gas and Electric contracts with the landfill to buy the energy, reducing their reliance on fossil fuels fossil fuel: see energy, sources of; fuel.
fossil fuel

Any of a class of materials of biologic origin occurring within the Earth's crust that can be used as a source of energy. Fossil fuels include coal, petroleum, and natural gas.

Altamont Landfill's gas-to-energy facility generates electricity that significantly lowers emissions and is one of the largest and cleanest burning facilities of its kind in the world. As the volume of material at the landfill increases, the amount of available methane will also increase, augmenting the potential for more green power.

"Waste Management is the only Bay Area waste company that currently captures natural gas to turn it into energy," said Ken Lewis, District Manager for the company's Altamont Landfill. "This process helps us close the loop on the waste stream, taking what would otherwise be waste and putting it to good use -- it's a complete circle and a great use of an abundantly available resource."

Typically, landfills simply "flare" off excess methane gas generated by landfill decomposition decomposition /de·com·po·si·tion/ (de-kom?pah-zish´un) the separation of compound bodies into their constituent principles.

. This process, however, only wastes the potential energy produced by landfills. Waste Management was the first to capture this gas and use it to create energy.

The two power plants, located at Waste Management's Bay Area landfills, are the first of their kind in the Bay Area. There are also plans to add another turbine at the company's Redwood Landfill outside Novato. "Waste Management has always sought ways to manage the waste stream more effectively and efficiently," says Lewis. "Our landfill gas-to-energy program is a model for the country and demonstrates Waste Management's commitment to managing resources for the improvement of the communities in which we are located."

    1.5 million   The amount of gas produced each year at Altamont in
                  square cubic feet

    8             The amount of megawatts produced from clean burning
                  methane gas

    9,500         The number of homes that are currently being powered
                  by the plants

    100           The amount of Waste Management renewable energy
                  programs currently operating around the country

    800,000       The number of homes across the country being powered
                  by Waste Management renewable energy programs today

    8.2 million   The number of barrels of oil saved by using these
                  programs each year

Waste Management is the leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental services The various combinations of scientific, technical, and advisory activities (including modification processes, i.e., the influence of manmade and natural factors) required to acquire, produce, and supply information on the past, present, and future states of space, atmospheric,  in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. . For more information about recycling recycling, the process of recovering and reusing waste products—from household use, manufacturing, agriculture, and business—and thereby reducing their burden on the environment. , log onto
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 25, 2006
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