Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 6:17 PM EDT
The LFGTE initiative [...] will position the company to serve the growing market for renewable energy. In recent years, consumer awareness of environmental issues and ambitious state Renewable Portfolio Standards have quickly increased demand for new sources of renewable energy. LFGTE projects are especially valuable to utilities because they provide dependable base load power, in contrast to the intermittent nature of other renewable energy sources.Forgetting about any environmental benefits whatsoever, Waste Management's initiative is remarkable because it turns a business liability (piles of trash) into a revenue-generating asset that will springboard the company into a new industry altogether. If only those so-called "innovative" tech start-ups could be so resourceful.
Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill, is comprised of approximately 50-60 percent methane and 40-50 percent carbon dioxide. At most landfills in the United States, these greenhouse gases are simply burned off, or "flared." However, Waste Management sites that have LFGTE facilities collect the methane and use it to fuel on-site engines or turbines, generating electricity to power surrounding homes and neighborhoods while creating a new revenue stream for the landfills.