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Mahoning Landfill gas generates electricity, rather than being wasted



Published: Mon, February 25, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

MAHONING LANDFILL PLANT CONVERTS METHANE

photo

A Waste Management technician works inside a plant that converts landfill gas to energy. Rather than wasting the gas by burning it on a flare, the Mahoning Landfill is piping it to a five-engine power plant that produces enough electricity to serve more than 3,500 homes in Oberlin.

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

NEW SPRINGFIELD

The Mahoning Landfill is now producing a new product — 4.8 megawatts of electricity that is being sold to the city of Oberlin.

The newly built electric generating plant at the landfill is fueled by methane gas, which is produced by the decomposition of the garbage buried in the landfill.

Rather than wasting the gas by burning it on a flare, the landfill is piping the gas to a five-engine power plant that produces enough electricity to serve more than 3,500 homes.

“Instead of the methane being flared at the landfill, it’s now essentially being used for a beneficial reuse,” said Beth Schmucker, Ohio community relations manager for Waste Management, which operates the landfill.

“This also means less reliance on coal, and also, as we know, there’s a great deal of focus in our country on sustainable, renewable energy sources, and methane is one of those,” she added.

The plant at the Waste Management landfill at 3510 E. Garfield Road in Springfield Township is one of more than 130 such facilities in North America where the company converts landfill gas to energy.

A similar plant will be completed this spring at WM’s Geneva, Ohio, landfill, and it, too, will supply electricity to Oberlin, said Todd Brady, WM’s gas operations manager.

From its American landfill in Waynesburg, near Canton, Waste Management also recovers methane, but sells it to Dominion East Ohio, which pipes it to consumers in Pasadena, Calif., Brady said.

Through its waste-based energy efforts, WM now creates enough energy nationally to power 1.1 million homes, and hopes to reach the 2 million mark by 2020, Schmucker said.

“As part of that, there was a great deal of focus put on gas-to-electric plants being developed within Waste Management throughout the United States,” she said.

Waste Management’s Mahoning Landfill isn’t the only local landfill where methane is being captured to produce much-needed electricity.

Republic Services’ Carbon-Limestone Landfill in Poland Township has an 18-engine methane-to-electricity plant, which has been operating since 2000. It supplies power to AMP Ohio, which serves many local member municipalities, including Hubbard, Niles, Newton Falls and Columbiana.

“It generates enough electricity for 18,000 homes a day,” Mike Heher, division manager at Carbon-Limestone, said of the plant at the landfill.

The Mahoning and the Carbon-Limestone landfills are Mahoning County’s only active landfills.

Managements at WM and Republic plan to be in the landfill electric-generating business here for the long term, as both have applied to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for landfill-expansion permits in the county. Republic’s expansion permit was granted this month.

At the current rate of dumping and at its currently authorized size, the Mahoning Landfill could continue to accept waste for seven or eight more years, said Jerry Ross, WM’s senior district manager, but it has applied for an expansion that would extend its life for 40 additional years.

Carbon-Limestone received a permit for an expansion that would double its capacity and extend its waste-accepting life from 30 more years to 80 more years, Heher said.

WM is making a substantial investment in gas-to-electric plants, with each engine costing $250,000, Brady said.

“Certainly, the intention is to make it a profitable business venture, but there is a lot of capital cost up front,” Brady said. “It’s a renewable energy that many communities and the utilities are interested in.”

Oberlin put out bids for renewable energy to diversify its power portfolio, and WM was fortunate to be able to respond to that need, Brady explained.

WM plans an open house at its Mahoning Landfill electric-generating plant this spring or summer, Schmucker said.

Most of the waste deposited in the Springfield Township landfill originates in Mahoning or neighboring counties, she added.


Comments

1lee(544 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Gas from another land fill in Mahoning is used to heat a factory, and has for a number of years. Useing this gas is not new.

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2DwightK(1250 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Nice to see trash being put to good use.

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3cambridge(2996 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

The future is now.

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4UticaShale(853 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Shut up Cambridge! Quit trying to claim combustion energy now since you were all the Al Gore greeny, solar windpower cheerleader.
What's the matter trying to slither into our gas energy group now? Go back to your liberal bent bro!

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5cambridge(2996 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

uselesshill....It's methane gas from landfill you moron. You know....clean, green and renewable. It's not the same gas you drill for. That's why I told you to have someone explain it.

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6UticaShale(853 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Study the article dunce and know the subject landfill, they are the first multiple frack drilling in Poland township by Hilcorp. The methane harnessing is a small part of their energy production.

Look at Cambridge folks, he doesn't even know the difference of solar,wind and hydro. The fool thinks methane combustion is in the same category and he's claiming it as clean.

Hello Cambridge my brother, Mr. Al Gore, methane is combustion like like diesel, gas, gasoline.........it leaves a carbon footprint! Now I'm trying to teach you how to be a liberal, you don't even know how bonehead! Geeezzzzzzzzz, how dumb can you be, I'm glad you live over there with the other dumb libs. ROTFLMAO!

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7UticaShale(853 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I can't resist, I'm cracking up over here, Cambridge is so stupid he says "methane is not the same gas you drill for."

Hahahahahah....Cambridge, what do you think the majority of natural gas is made of? Methane you dumb pipefitter! Hahahahahah................................................................................hahahahah...

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8cambridge(2996 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Uselesshill....the methane is from decomposing garbage. Since landfills are garbage the gas it produced was vented off and burned. Land fills got bigger and the gas release was pollution. Now the gas is contained and used to burn the garbage cleanly while generating electricity.

It is not the gas you drill for, it is not the industry you work in. It is the opposite. This proces is in the same class as wind, solar and hydro.

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9UticaShale(853 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Keep digging bro,

you now have proven who you really are ..............DUMB.

I no longer find you interesting to debate, I own you, bye,bye.

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10cambridge(2996 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

uselessshill....Try reading what the state of texas has to say about "Landfill Gas" dummy.

http://www.window.state.tx.us/special...

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