By utilizing various methods for creating energy from refuse, Waste Management generates almost as much energy as the nation’s entire solar industry, The Motley Fool reports.
Waste Management generates the equivalent of 9.8 GW of power through waste-to-energy projects and harvesting landfill gasses. In contrast, the US’ entire solar industry generates around 10 GW of power, the website reports.
The company has the ability to generate 680 MW of electricity from natural gas harvested from its various landfill and dump sites — enough to power half of the homes in the US annually.
Last month, Waste Management announced plans to build a plant in Illinois that converts gas from its Milam landfill into useable fuel for its natural gas powered trucks. Waste Management estimates that this single plant will refine enough gas to power 400 large compressed natural gas trucks. The plant should be online in 2014.
The Illinois facility will be the third such plant that Waste Management operates. But that is just a fraction of the roughly 130 energy projects the company runs nationwide. By 2020, Waste Management wants to generate enough energy to power 2 million US homes, up from 1.2 million currently, The Motley Fool reports.
If Waste Management succeeds in this goal, it would represent a 67 percent growth in energy output over seven years for a company that’s not even in the energy business. First Solar, by contrast, is aiming to increase its energy production by about 20 percent in three years.
Earlier this month, Zero Waste Energy broke ground on an anaerobic digestion facility that will convert 11,200 tons per year of food and green waste into more than 100,000 diesel equivalent gallons of compressed natural gas fuel and compost.
The company says the project will divert almost 95 percent of the organic waste feedstock from landfills and estimates that each collection vehicle will collect enough organic waste during just one route to fuel it for an entire day, creating a closed-loop system.