Waste Management has unveiled its new $30 million renewable natural gas (RNG) technology at its Outer Loop Recycling and Disposal facility in Louisville, Ky. This innovative facility captures methane produced by the landfill and converts it to pipeline quality natural gas.
The facility processes up to 5,000 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) of incoming landfill gas. This equates to about 2,500 mmbtu per day of RNG, or 18,000 diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) per day, enough to fuel about 800 of the company’s compressed natural gas (CNG) collection trucks.
“Waste Management’s innovative renewable natural gas facilities close the loop by converting discarded waste into beneficial gas that can go into the pipeline and fuel our very own CNG collection vehicles,” said Jim Trevathan, Waste Management executive vice president and chief operating officer, in a statement.
The Outer Loop RNG facility serves as a model for a planned rollout of additional facilities in the coming years. Waste Management also operates renewable natural gas facilities in Illinois (Milam Landfill) and Ohio (American Landfill).
RNG, or biomethane, is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and thus can be used in natural gas vehicles. RNG is essentially biogas, the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter, that has been processed to purity standards. Like conventional natural gas, RNG can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of CNG or liquefied natural gas (LNG).
16 million diesel equivalent gallons of renewable natural gas are produced by harnessing the methane at the company’s landfills with RNG facilities. Waste Management uses this RNG to fuel a portion of its collection fleet, lowering fuel costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent compared to those powered by diesel.
Waste Management’s 110 compressed natural gas stations deliver 60 million diesel equivalent gallons of natural gas each year. The company’s fleet of 6,700 natural gas trucks represents 30 percent of the company’s overall collection fleet. The company continues its commitment to converting its fleet from diesel to natural gas with 80 percent of new truck purchases powered by natural gas.
Like wind, solar and other biofuels, landfill gas is a renewable source of fuel and energy endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an alternative to fossil fuels. Waste Management is a leader in this important renewable resource, including the company’s landfill-gas-to-energy facilities, with 130 projects at its landfills around the country and the equivalent of more than 650 megawatts of capacity—enough to power 490,000 homes.