Waste Management has opened a renewable natural gas facility creating pipeline-ready natural gas from the landfill gas produced at its Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Illinois.
In early December, the processed renewable natural gas will be injected into the Ameren Illinois pipeline for withdrawal at other locations, including some Waste Management facilities.
The natural gas is used to heat homes or fuel truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is designed to process approximately 3,500 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) of incoming landfill gas. This is as much gas as it takes to fuel about 200 Waste Management CNG collection trucks each day, and represents more than 5 percent of the natural gas that is used in Waste Management’s entire CNG fleet per day. Waste Management of Illinois currently has more than 100 CNG trucks in its fleet displacing about one million gallons per year of diesel fuel.
"The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is the first facility of its kind we’ve actually built from the ground up," said Jim Trevathan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Waste Management. "This innovative facility utilizes renewable landfill gas, and purifies it to a high-quality natural gas that in turn feeds into the adjacent pipeline to fuel our growing fleet of CNG trucks. This truly maximizes available resources while creating a new and beneficial use."
"At Ameren Illinois, we are investing in new technology upgrades to our natural gas delivery system, so when we were approached by Waste Management for this first-of-its-kind collaboration, it made perfect sense to us," said Richard J. Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois. "Operating in an environmentally-responsible manner is one of Ameren Illinois’ core values and it’s important to our customers. On behalf of our 3,000 employees, I congratulate Waste Management for taking this important step."
Like wind and solar, landfill gas – which is produced as waste naturally decomposes inside a landfill – is a renewable source of energy endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an alternative to fossil fuels.
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 Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility, the landfill gas is further processed to produce pipeline-quality natural gas.
The existing Milam Landfill-Gas-to-Energy facility produces 2.4 megawatts of renewable energy.
The output from this power plant is now directly connected to the new Renewable Natural Gas Facility, providing the power needed to run the new facility. The Renewable Natural Gas Facility also reduces the site’s emissions. Since the gas is treated, rather than burned onsite, Waste Management anticipates a 60 percent reduction in emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.
The $19 million Renewable Gas Facility was partially funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Energy Office. Construction of the facility provided the equivalent of 17 union jobs over a ten-month period, and three operational jobs.
"We celebrate with Waste Management on the opening of this new facility," said Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett. "This project is a great example of proactive measures that will improve our environment while driving Illinois’ economy forward."
Waste Management’s Commitment to Using Landfill Gas to Generate Electricity, Produce Renewable Gas and Displace Fossil Fuel
The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is the company’s third plant to convert landfill gas to natural gas. In California, Waste Management collaborated in the world’s largest plant to convert landfill gas to ultra-low-carbon liquefied natural gas (LNG).
With greenhouse gas emissions associated with this fuel, more than 80 percent lower than those of diesel, this is the cleanest fuel available for heavy-duty trucks.
The facility produces up to 13,000 gallons of LNG per day and helps to power the company’s fleet in California. In Ohio, Waste Management processes about 3,000 SCFM of landfill gas and delivers it to a natural gas pipeline.
Waste Management has 134 landfill projects using landfill gas to generate electricity, produce renewable gas, or displace fossil fuel. These projects produce the equivalent of more than 650 megawatts of power capacity, enough to power almost half a million homes, and displace the equivalent of about 2.5 million tons of coal per year.