Waste Management has opened another gas-to-energy power plant in northern Nevada at its Lockwood Landfill. The landfill gas will be captured and converted to electricity – enough to power more than 1,800 homes. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was on hand at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the first of its kind of project in the state.
When organic materials break down, they create a gas comprised of nearly 55 percent methane gas (a gas more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of climate change). The gas is captured via collection wells strategically placed around the landfill and then pipe the gas to the power plant. Once the gas arrives, it is used to fuel two generators. It is estimated that the electricity produced will offset around 700 railcars of coal.
“The Gas-To-Energy Facility at the Lockwood Landfill ensures that not even garbage will go to waste,” said Justin Caporusso, Waste Management spokesperson. “By investing in landfill gas-to-energy, we are powering homes using the same waste that is left at the curb.”
Waste Management (WM) cites some benefits of the project including the plant is not dependent on other sources of energy like wind or solar; it’s reliable during peak energy hours; it’s an economical alternative to other fuel sources such as natural gas; and it’s endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency. In total, WM operates 131 landfill gas-to-energy facilities across North America equating to more than 9 million mW hours of electricity per year.
Paul Pabor, vice president of renewable energy for WM added, “Waste Management has been developing landfill gas-to-energy technology for over two decades, and we operate more of these facilities than any other company in the United States. As a leader in this industry, we understand how landfills operate and how to use technology to extract the most value from the waste stream.”