The Economist published an article on the trend to turning garbage into natural gas.

Waste Management World wrote about how landfill gas is fueling sanitation vehicles in the US state of Georgia.  Methane gas from landfill will be converted at the DeKalb County Renewable Fuels Facility into compressed natural gas (CNG) to power 70 vehicles belonging to the sanitation department. Compared to the cost of diesel fuel, the county says that it is forecasting fuel savings of $3 million over the next 8 years.  The county’s goal is to eventually replace or adapt its entire fleet of 306 sanitation vehicles with natural gas vehicles over the same time period.

The same source also mentioned a Brazilian landfill gas project.  Waste gas at the Belo Horizonte landfill site in the state of Minas Gerais is to be converted into 5.5 MW of electricity by the end of 2012 – enough energy to supply an average Brazilian city of more than 60,000 people. This is the equivalent of more than 12 million cubic meters of natural gas to generate electricity in an average natural gas-fired power plant.

BioEnergy Insight told us that a farm in Northern Ireland will use cow waste to produce biogas.  The waste from 600 animals will be converted into methane gas to power generators to produce 430 kW an hour which can power about 430 homes. Peter Kindt, the chairman from Alfagy, the company behind the system, says he does not understand why systems such as these are not installed more frequently. He says: ‘It It is astonishing that more financial support isn’t directed at biogas power plants as they create eight times more value than other renewable technologies such as wind turbines.’

West Oakland, California is to have a biodiesel facility reported BioEnergy Insight.  The 20 million gallon a year biodiesel processing facility will be able to take multiple feedstocks, such as organic grease and oil waste, as well as algae, jatropha and Camelina. Glycerin, a byproduct of the biodiesel manufacturing process, will be fed into anaerobic digesters on the site, producing 1 MW of electricity to power the facility and 1,500 homes.

A 32 MW waste to energy facility opened in the Netherlands according to Waste Management World.  Located in Roosendaal, the 291,000 tonne capacity, 32 MW plant is said to be one of the most modern municipal waste to energy facilities in Europe. It is expected to generate 275,000 MWh of electricity annually to the grid, supplying 70,000 households with power. The facility will also supply heat to greenhouses nearby will save approximately 3.5 million cubic of natural gas.  There is a video about the plant and how it works.

Bamboo is to power biomass plants in the Philippines said BioEnergy Insight.  Bioenergy company Clenergen has entered into agreements with the National Power Corporation to build 3 facilities. A 1 MW biomass plant  in Romblon using bamboo as a feedstock will help to supply power to houses that are in the off-grid zone of the region. Another power plant will be built in Kalinga, supplying 1.5 MW to the grid; and a third in Palawan, generating 3.5 MW.

The same source also let us know that the British government has approved a biomass power plant in Yorkshire to replace a coal plant. The 108 MW facility will take biomass and waste from nearby councils such as Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster and will generate both electricity and heat from the feedstock. Construction is to begin in 2012 with the plant beginning operations in 2015.

UK-based supermarket chain Sainsbury’s will dispose of all left-over organic waste from the retailer to anaerobic digestion (AD) plants around the country. BioEnergy Insight wrote that the food waste will be converted into electric power which will be put on the national grid for home and business use.


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