Waste Management to build third bioCNG plant

By Anna Simet | October 23, 2013

Waste Management is well known as a waste and recycling company, but it is also an energy company, according Paul Pabor, vice president of renewable energy for Waste Management.

A renewable natural gas plant that the company just broke ground on at the Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Ill., will bring the total number of Waste Management landfills using landfill gas to generate electricity, produce renewable gas, or displace fossil fuel to 134, Pabor said.

In Fairmont City, processed renewable natural gas will be injected into the pipelines of Ameren Illinois for withdrawal at other locations, including some Waste Management facilities, and used to fuel truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Pabor said the facility will be designed to process approximately 3,500 standard cubic feet per minute of incoming landfill gas, or 105 million Btu per hour. This is as much gas as it takes to fuel about 400 of Waste Management’s CNG collection trucks each day and represents more than ten percent of the natural gas that is used in the company’s entire existing CNG fleet, according to the company.

 Waste Management of Illinois currently has more than 100 CNG trucks in its fleet, displacing about one million gallons per year of diesel fuel. “For every diesel truck older than a 2006 model that we replace with a natural gas one, we eliminate 22 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year,” Pabor said. “These trucks also emit nearly zero air particulates, cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 25 percent and are far quieter than their predecessors.”

The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility will become Waste Management’s third plant to convert landfill gas to natural gas, joining a 13,000 gallon-per-day facility in California that it believes is the world’s largest plant converting landfill gas to ultra-low-carbon liquefied natural gas, and one in Ohio, which processes about 3,000 SCFM of landfill gas and delivers it to a natural gas pipeline. 

Waste Management also produces about 550 MW of power via landfill gas-to-electricity plants, and its wholly owned subsidiary Wheelabrator Inc. operates 17 waste-to-energy facilities with a generating capacity of 669 MW.

Waste Management expects the Milam plant to begin delivering gas to the pipelines in late summer 2014.