Green Gets Dirty

TMMK Begins Construction on Landfill Energy Project
by Dan Nied
Mar/Apr 2015
Though this may sound insulting, landfills are piles of garbage (sorry landfills, but you know it’s true). But when their solids break down, they create gas that can provide loads of clean energy.

So you have to hand it to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. The manufacturers of some of the greenest cars on the road, including Camry Hybrid and Avalon Hybrid, are about to make history by generating power from gas in a landfill just a few miles away.

The initiative is a partnership with Waste Services of the Bluegrass and marks the region’s first business to business landfill gas to energy initiative. Toyota estimates the landfill gas will provide enough annual power to produce 10,000 vehicles.

So how does it work? Well, as solid waste naturally breaks down in a landfill, it creates gas. A network of wells at the landfill will collect and prepare this gas, which will be used to fuel generators for electricity. Underground transmission lines will then carry the electricity to Toyota’s manufacturing plant, located a few miles south of the landfill. 

Construction begins in April and is expected to be complete by this summer. Once finished, the system will generate one megawatt of electricity per hour, which can power 800 homes, based on average consumption in the U.S. Further, landfill greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by as much as 90 percent.

To see how it works, check out the back cover.
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