Construction Starts on Renewable Energy Plant

posted 7/2/2013

Waste Management of Des Moines announced an expansion to the Des Moines Metro Methane Recovery Facility at the Metro Park East landfill in Polk County. The plant is a result of a private-public partnership between Waste Management and Metro Waste Authority. Waste Management is a leading developer, operator and owner of more than 100 landfill methane recovery facilities in the United States.

When complete, the facility expansion will increase the amount of energy produced from landfill gas that is converted into reusable energy. Methane recovery plants divert landfill gas to the facility where it is cleaned before being converted into reusable energy. The U.S. EPA has endorsed landfill gas as an environmentally friendly resource that reduces the reliance on coal, oil and other fossil fuels.

Currently, the plant generates 6.4 megawatts of energy, and the new plant will increase this number to 11.2 megawatts. The electricity powers 6,400 homes, with that number increasing to 11,200 after the expansion. The electricity produced by the new facility is delivered to the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), a contract secured by Metro Waste Authority.

“We are taking a bi-product that you would think would be unusable (landfill gas) and turning it into a beneficial source of renewable energy,” said Joe Durako, Senior District Manager, Waste Management – Illinois Missouri Valley Area. “By investing in landfill gas-to-energy, we are developing clean and renewable energy to create a more sustainable community for tomorrow.”

The new plant will add three more engines that will convert the gas into energy, with room for a fourth in the future. The industrial engines are fueled using landfill gas, which forms as a result of the decomposition of waste.

“This partnership allows Metro Waste Authority to leverage Waste Management expertise while meeting our Environmental Management System goal of reducing greenhouse gases,” explains Thomas Hadden, Metro Waste Authority Executive Director. “It also provides Metro Waste with another source of revenue to offset operational costs.”

Waste Management is the operator of the gas plant and Metro Waste Authority owns and operates the landfill.