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Waste Management opens renewable natural gas facility

LNG Industry,

Waste Management has opened a unique renewable natural gas facility, creating pipeline-ready natural gas from the landfill gas produced at its Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Illinois.

In early December, the processed renewable natural gas will be injected into the Ameren Illinois pipeline for withdrawal at other locations, including some Waste Management facilities. The natural gas is used to heat homes or fuel truck fleets and other equipment that run on CNG.

CNG truck fleet

The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is designed to process approximately 3500 ft3/minute of incoming landfill gas. This is as much gas as it takes to fuel approximately 200 Waste Management CNG collection trucks each day, and represents more than 5% of the natural gas that is used in Waste Management’s entire CNG fleet per day.

Commenting at the opening, Jim Trevathan, Executive VP and COO for Waste Management, said: “The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is the first facility of its kind we’ve actually built from the ground up. This innovative facility utilises renewable landfill gas, and purifies it to a high-quality natural gas that in turn feeds into the adjacent pipeline to fuel our growing fleet of CNG trucks. This truly maximizes available resources while creating a new and beneficial use.”

New technology

Richard J. Mark, President and CEO of Ameren Illinois, added: "At Ameren Illinois, we are investing in new technology upgrades to our natural gas delivery system, so when we were approached by Waste Management for this first-of-its-kind collaboration, it made perfect sense to us. Operating in an environmentally responsible manner is one of Ameren Illinois’ core values and it's important to our customers. On behalf of our 3000 employees, I congratulate Waste Management for taking this important step."

The existing Milam Landfill-Gas-to-Energy facility produces 2.4 MW of renewable energy. The output from this power plant is directly connected to the new facility, providing the power needed to run it. Since the gas is treated, rather than burned onsite, Waste Management anticipates a 60% reduction in emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.

Illinois funding

The US$ 19 million Renewable Gas Facility was partially funded by a US$ 2.4 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Energy Office. Construction of the facility provided the equivalent of 17 union jobs over a ten-month period, and three operational jobs.

"We celebrate with Waste Management on the opening of this new facility," said Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett. "This project is a great example of proactive measures that will improve our environment while driving Illinois' economy forward."

Low carbon LNG

The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is the company’s third plant to convert landfill gas to natural gas. In California, Waste Management collaborated in the world’s largest plant to convert landfill gas to ultra-low-carbon LNG. With greenhouse gas emissions associated with this fuel, more than 80% lower than those of diesel, this is the cleanest fuel available for heavy-duty trucks. The facility produces up to 13,000 gal./d of LNG and helps to power the company’s fleet in California.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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