Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill, is composed of around 50-60% methane and 40-50% carbon dioxide.

At most landfills in the US, the methane is simply burned off. LFGTE facilities use methane gas to power generators offsetting power otherwise generated from fossil fuel.

Our facility will benefit the local environment and economy because it will help offset the need for non-renewable resources such as coal, natural gas and oil, said Jason Chan, district manager for the Rolling Meadows landfill. Waste Management is proud to be building this facility and combined with our existing waste management operations, demonstrates our company’s dedication to fulfilling the needs of the community.

Our agreement with Waste Management represents a wonderful opportunity for Westar to receive another source of renewable energy for our customers and gain experience with base load distributed generation, said Bill Moore, Westar Energy president and chief executive officer. We are pleased to be part of delivering clean energy from a source that would otherwise just be a waste byproduct.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has endorsed landfill gas as an environmentally wise alternative energy resource that reduces the country’s reliance on fossil fuels like coal and oil. Landfill gas is also an important source of waste-based, renewable energy that can generate distributed base load power.

Waste Management is unique in the industry with its in-house expertise providing landfill gas management, power plant construction and operation and energy marketing. Its Renewable Energy group provides full service support to municipal and private landfill operators that lack the resources to develop LFGTE projects.

Waste Management pioneered landfill gas to energy technology over two decades ago, and we operate more of these facilities than any other company in North America, said Chan. As the largest operator of landfills, we understand how landfills operate and how best to leverage this valuable resource.

In 2007, Waste Management set an ambitious goal to develop up to 60 LFGTE projects at its landfills by 2012. Waste Management is North America’s largest operator of LFGTE facilities, with renewable energy projects at 112 of its landfills. Upon completion of the 60-project expansion begun in 2007, Waste Management expects to generate over 700 MW of energy from its landfills, enough to power 700,000 homes.

Together with Waste Management’s other renewable energy initiatives, the Rolling Meadows facility will move Waste Management toward meeting one of its sustainability goals, to double its renewable energy production to provide enough power for the equivalent of two million homes by 2020.