Waste Management develops landfill projects

By Susanne Retka Schill
Web exclusive posted Oct. 8, 2008 at 9:55 a.m. CST

Waste Management Inc. is expanding its work in developing landfill gas-to-energy projects to include partnerships with private and municipal landfill owners. The first facility, which opened Sept. 18 at the Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site near Denver, Colo., is expected to generate 3.2 megawatts of electricity. Recently, ground was also broken on a 1.4 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy facility at the municipal owned Madison County landfill near Syracuse, N.Y.

An operator of landfills nationwide, last year Waste Management announced a goal of developing up to 60 landfill gas projects at its landfills by 2012. Over a dozen of those projects have been completed or launched across North America, and the company said it now has renewable energy projects at 112 of its landfills. The company is unique in the industry with its in-house expertise providing landfill gas management, power plant construction and operation, as well as energy marketing. The new initiative will position Waste Management's renewable energy group to provide full service support to municipal and private landfill operators that lack the resources to develop landfill gas-to-energy projects.

Waste Management is North America's largest operator of landfill gas facilities. Upon completion of the 60-project expansion begun in 2007, the company expects to generate over 700 megawatts of energy from its landfills. In its announcement of offering services to private and municipal landfills, the company cited U.S. EPA support for landfill gas projects through its Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP). There are 445 landfill gas-to-energy projects in operation, with another 536 sites (out of 1,700 total operating landfills) that are potential candidates for projects. Fully developed, LMOP estimates these additional landfills could producer more than 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1 million homes.