Waste to Fuel Plants Become Reality

Joanna Schroeder

Waste Management flipped the switch this week on Southwestern Ontario’s first-ever private landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE) facility. Located at Waste Management’s Petrolia Landfill, the facility will use methane gas – created from the natural decomposition of waste – to power up to 2,500 homes in the surrounding area. The gas is collected through wells that are strategically placed throughout the site, which powers four large engines and generates approximately 3.2 megawatts of power. The resulting electricity will be provided to homes using Bluewater Power’s distribution system. A second LFGTE facility is planned for the company’s Twin Creeks Landfill in Watford, Ontario.

This LFGTE facility is only the third private facility in Canada but it is the first in Southwestern Ontario. Waste Management has an initiative to power two million homes by 2020 with waste-based energy.

A little closer to home, Ameresco, Inc., along with San Antonio Water System (SAWS) hosted a grand opening of their new biogas facility located at the Dos Rios Water Recycling Center. According to Ameresco, this project is the first of its kind in the U.S. designed to capture biogas generated during the sewage treatment process and selling it through a commercial gas pipeline.

“SAWS is constantly improving its operations to become more sustainable, and this project is a sound investment for our environment and our community,” said Robert R. Puente, SAWS President/CEO. “By reusing biogas instead of burning it off, we are helping protect the city’s air quality and developing a renewable energy resource.”

During the sewage treatment process, biosolids generate methane gas. Rather than burn off the gas using flares, the company will now treat and transfer at least 900,000 cubic feet of gas to a nearby commercial gas pipeline. From there, Ameresco will sell the methane on the open market. In return, SAWS ratepayers will receive a royalty payment on the sale of the gas estimated yearly to be $200,000.

“At Ameresco, we are driven to help our customers find renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to achieve their goals,” said Michael T. Bakas, Ameresco’s senior vice president of renewable energy. “Whether those goals are a sustainable environment, reducing costs or reusing a resource, our energy engineers, project managers and plant specialists can make these goals a reality. Ameresco is proud to be a part of this team and groundbreaking project.”

biofuels, biogas, Energy, Waste-to-Energy