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.
The approximately eight megawatts, which are produced by capturing landfill methane gas, a natural by-product of decomposing garbage, 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.
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. 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."
Facts: 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 in North America. For more information about recycling, log onto www.wm.com.