The processed renewable natural gas will be injected into the pipelines of Ameren Illinois for withdrawal at other locations, including some Waste Management facilities. Once there, it will be used to fuel truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Waste Management is calling the plant the Renewable Natural Gas Facility and expects it to begin delivering gas to the pipelines in late summer 2014.
Landfill gas is a renewable source of energy endorsed by EPA as an alternative to fossil fuels. It’s produced as waste naturally decomposes inside a landfill. Once captured, the gas is filtered and compressed and can be used to fuel an engine or a turbine to generate electricity.
At the new Renewable Natural Gas Facility, the landfill gas will be further processed to produce pipeline-quality natural gas.
The facility will also reduce on-site landfill emissions. Because the gas will be treated, rather than burned onsite, Waste Management anticipates about a 60 percent reduction in emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.
Paul Pabor, vice president of renewable energy for Waste Management, says the facility will be designed to process approximately 3,500 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) of incoming landfill gas, equivalent to 105 million British thermal units per hour. This is as much gas as it takes to fuel about 400 of Waste Management’s CNG collection trucks each day and represents more than 10 percent of the natural gas that is used in Waste Management’s entire existing CNG fleet. Waste Management of Illinois currently has more than 100 CNG trucks in its fleet displacing about 1 million gallons per year of diesel fuel.
For every 2006 model or older diesel truck replaced with a CNG vehicle, Waste Management eliminatess 22 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, Pabor says.
The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility will be the company’s third plant to convert landfill gas to natural gas. In California, Waste Management has collaborated in the world’s largest plant to convert landfill gas to ultra-low-carbon liquefied natural gas (LNG). The greenhouse gas emissions associated with this fuel are more than 80 percent lower than those of diesel. It’s the cleanest fuel available for heavy-duty trucks today. The facility produces 13,000 gallons of LNG per day and helps to power the company’s fleet in California.