Landfill Powers Ethanol Plant

Cindy Zimmerman

The Sioux Falls Landfill is now providing methane gas to help power the daily operations of POET’s 105 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Chancellor, South Dakota.

POET CEO Jeff Broin joined representatives from the City of Sioux Falls and the Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sioux Falls Landfill on Friday.

Among those on hand for the event was LMOP program manager Swarupa Ganguli with the EPA, who explained that the program is a voluntary partnership that promotes the use of landfill gas as an energy source. “This is one of three projects in the country where landfill gas is used in the production of ethanol and the first in the state of South Dakota,” said Ganguli. “The annual environmental benefits from using this gas for power is equal to removing emissions from more than 27,000 passenger vehicles, removing carbon dioxide emissions from more than 344,000 barrels of oil or sequestering carbon with nearly 34,000 acres of pine or fir forests.

The 10-mile, low-pressure pipeline from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill began supplying methane to the plant at the end of February, ahead of the expected completion date. The POET plant will utilize the landfill gas in a wood waste-fuel boiler to generate process steam. Combined, the two alternative energy sources will initially offset up to 90 percent of the plant’s process steam needs currently met using natural gas and has the potential to replace 90 percent of the plant’s total energy needs (combined with waste wood) over time.

Energy, Ethanol, POET