Waste Management (NYSE: WM) today announced it is building a facility that will create pipeline-ready natural gas from its Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Ill. At a ceremony at the landfill, state, county and local officials joined the company to celebrate the groundbreaking.
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, or 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.
“Ameren Illinois applauds Waste Management for deploying an innovative technology to fuel their fleet," said Richard J. Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois. "This is a first-of-its-kind collaboration for Ameren Illinois to facilitate the transportation of clean, renewable natural gas through our pipelines to the U.S. gas distribution grid."
Like wind and solar, landfill gas is a renewable source of energy endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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.“This type of project represents an important alternative source of renewable energy that we provide straight from our landfills,” said Paul Pabor, vice president of renewable energy for Waste Management. “While we are well known as a waste and recycling company, we’re also an energy company.” At the landfill, on-site emissions will be reduced by the Renewable Natural Gas Facility. Since 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.