The Houston-based trash hauler Waste Management recently announced a major initiative to tap more landfill gas for energy to produce electrical power.

The company currently owns and operates 103 landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) facilities and wants to build another 60 facilities over the next five years. When completed, the facilities will add another 230 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation to the grid, bringing the company’s total from LFGTE generation to more than 700 MW.

Gas is produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill. The gas consists of about 50–60 percent methane and 40–50 percent carbon dioxide.

LFGTE facilities developed by Waste Management will collect the methane and use it to fuel on-site engines or turbines to generate electricity for surrounding users.

Waste Management currently has 281 landfills around the country and intends to develop LGFTE projects at landfills in a number of states, including Texas, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois and Wisconsin. With potential turbine and transmission work becoming available, this might be a good project for electrical contractors to monitor.       EC