Landfill Biogas – The Rodney Dangerfield of Renewable Power

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Some of the landfill gas at McCarty Road Landfill in Texas was captured for sale to a local utility, but the rest was just getting flared. Now, though, Ameresco Services captures that excess and sends it four miles through an underground pipeline to Anheuser-Busch brewery to meet their goal of getting 15 percent of their needs by 2010 promised a few years ago.

How much business is there to be made in capturing and using waste energy? Well, the company that developed the energy recycling waste-to-power system that helps fuel the biopower plant at the brewery has got to be one of the few companies in this economy to enjoy 47% growth over the last 5 years!

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Ameresco Services also provides renewable power through three landfill gas-to-energy plants in California, and is building the first and only large wastewater utility selling biogas in the United States; the San Antonio Wastewater Treatment Plant. They also ship landfill biogas 9 miles to a BMW plant in South Carolina to provide 20% of its energy. They are leaders in energy efficiency and waste to energy recycling projects.

So is Anheuser Busch actually meeting their goal of 15%? When you add together the landfill biogas with the existing biogas collected through the brewery’s own recapture of it’s nutrient-rich waste water Bio-Energy Recovery System (BERS) operation; the total percentage could actually add up to more than 60 percent of the fuel they use. Even better than promised. It’s not so hard, cutting greenhouse gases, once you start.

Biogas is the most renewable resource every state has. We all have landfill. All landfill stinks. Biogas is a natural byproduct of waste decomposition at the landfill. We could all capture the gas and burn it to make electricity, rather than flare it at the dump.

The EPA says that the greatest reductions in GHG emissions during the past 25 years have come from technology advancements to recover energy.

Image: Flikr user Roadchubs

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