New landfill gas-to-energy project under development in S.C.

By Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc. | March 21, 2014

Lockhart Power Co. and Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc. have announced plans to develop, own and operate a landfill gas-to-power renewable energy  facility at the Republic Services Inc.’s Upstate Regional Landfill located near Cross Anchor in Union County, S.C.  As the material in landfills decompose, this process produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide.   The project will use methane captured from the landfill as fuel to make electricity. Lockhart Power Company has formed a wholly owned subsidiary called Lockhart BioEnergy LLC to develop and own the facility.  The project will consist of two reciprocating combustion engines, each of which will power a 1,600-kW generator.  The facility will be connected to the electrical grid, and its output will initially be purchased by Duke Energy.

“Before it was publicly announced, the project was referred to as Project Midas because it turns trash into figurative gold,” said Bryan Stone, chief operating officer of Lockhart Power.  “We have proven with our Wellford renewable energy project that this type of generation is not only feasible but effective and economical.  This project represents the sixth renewable energy facility we have developed or purchased during the last several years, and materially supports our corporate environmental sustainability mission by continuing to allow Lockhart Power to generate more than 99 percent of its power from renewable energy resources.”

Lockhart Power currently owns and operates a similar landfill gas-to-energy facility in Wellford through a partnership with Spartanburg County. The Wellford project, which began production in 2011, transports a portion of the landfill gas by pipeline for use in Milliken & Company’s Dewey plant in Inman, and uses the remaining landfill gas on site for power generation.

“This project is another example of our efforts to become a leader in implementing green power alternatives,” said Richard Webel, President of Pacolet Milliken, the parent company of Lockhart Power.  “By capturing and beneficially utilizing landfill gas, we will reduce air pollution and tap into an otherwise wasted source of usable energy.”

“This new gas-to-energy facility will be a substantial addition to our energy division under Lockhart Power,” said Ralph Walker, Sr. Vice President of Energy for Pacolet Milliken. “Using landfill gas generation to generate power while avoiding the need to use pollution-creating fossil fuels to generate that power is a win-win proposition for our community.”

This project represents a substantial investment by Lockhart Power and Pacolet Milliken, and will employ approximately 15 to 20 individuals during the construction phase.  Lockhart Power will provide the needed operators, maintenance staff and administrative support on a permanent basis.

The air permitting process for the Union County Landfill Energy facility should be completed by May, allowing construction to begin in June. The facility is anticipated to be operational by the end of 2014. It will produce 3,200 kW of useful electric power which will serve an electrical load capable of supplying over 2,000 average size homes.

“We are pleased to partner with Lockhart Power and Pacolet Milliken to make productive use of the naturally occurring methane produced by the landfill, which is currently flared, or burned,” said Jamey Amick, area president of Republic Services. “Any time a waste material can be harnessed to produce energy, it’s an incredible opportunity.”