Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., manufacturing plant will begin generating electricity—1 megawatt per hour—from methane, a byproduct of trash decomposition at the nearby Central Kentucky Landfill on 23 November, 2015.
That’s enough annual energy generation to produce approximately 10,000 vehicles. The system can eventually be scaled up to 10 megawatts per hour.—Toyota’s environmental strategies manager Dave Absher
Toyota’s global headquarters recently announced a very aggressive goal of largely eliminating CO2 emissions from its vehicles and manufacturing plants by 2050. The launch of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle this year; making its fuel cell patents available to other automakers; and developing manufacturing technologies that use hydrogen as a power source are specific initiatives mentioned within the plan.
Alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and locally produced renewable energy also will be required to achieve the goal.
The project is a collaboration between Toyota’s Georgetown manufacturing plant and the Central Kentucky Landfill owned and operated by Waste Services of the Bluegrass. Landfills are required to monitor methane levels and report these levels to the EPA. Capturing and burning the methane has been determined by the EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Toyota Georgetown’s project began in 2010 when the two companies met to discuss the potential. Last fall, Waste Services began installing a methane collection system and Toyota began installing the generator at the site. An underground electric transmission line runs from the landfill approximately 6.5 miles to deliver the electricity to the plant.
The landfill gas generator represents the kind of thinking that our company is asking us to do to reduce our carbon footprint over the next 35 years. It’s a small step, but a significant one. These types of changes to our manufacturing operations coupled with other global initiatives will help us reach this very aggressive goal.—Kevin Butt, Toyota’s general manager for environment strategies