Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. has teamed up with Waste Services of the Bluegrass to generate power from local landfill waste, marking the region’s first business-to-business landfill gas to energy initiative. Toyota estimates the locally-generated landfill gas will supply enough power each year for the production of 10,000 vehicles.
As solid waste naturally breaks down in a landfill, it creates biogas. 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 early 2015. Once up and running, the system will generate one megawatt of electricity per hour, or about what it takes to power 800 homes, based on average consumption in the US.
Additionally, landfill greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by as much as 90%, resulting in better air quality for the local community.
Since 2006, the Kentucky plant has been a zero-landfill facility. Some of the waste goes into a composter, located on the plant’s 1300-acre campus. The compost generated is used to fertilize an on-site garden, which has supplied more than 11,000 pounds of produce—the weight equivalent of 3.5 Camrys, to a local food bank.