Landfill Methane Outreach Program
CNN LFGE Video and Transcript
On May 4, 2007, CNN featured LMOP Energy Partner Interface Inc.'s LFGE project. To view the video, place your cursor over the video image and click on the "play" arrow.
COLLINS (in news room): Modern alchemy—a Georgia town turning garbage into gold, so to speak. CNN's Rob Marciano has the story.
MARCIANO (voice-over): Mounds of garbage decomposing. Landfills produce huge amounts of methane. It's the second most abundant greenhouse gas at a whopping 20 times more potent than CO2. But here, at this capped landfill, methane gas is taking on the sweeter smell of success.
(on camera): I look around, all I see are pipes being drilled into the ground. Tell me what processes are happening underneath the dirt here.
DAVE GUSTASHAW, INTERFACE, INC.: There is an anaerobic digestion that's occurring in the ground that the microbes are basically eating the garbage in very simple terms. And as a result of that, in the absence of oxygen, it's generating methane.
MARCIANO (voice-over): Methane David Gustashaw uses to run his carpet factory. And methane the local utility is happy to sell.
PATRICK BOWIE, CITY OF LAGRANGE, GEORGIA: We pull the landfill gas in, clean it up, condition it, compress it, and pipe it about nine miles to the customers.
MARCIANO (on camera): So here we are nine miles away and the methane is being pumped into your factory.
GUSTASHAW: That's right. This line has two energy sources, it has both electricity and natural gas or a gas requirement for processed heat to help us run the process. This is what's called a direct gas use of landfill gas.
MARCIANO (voice-over): Which is not only good for the environment, it's good for the bottom line.
(on camera): You're saving 30 percent by using the methane from the landfill gases?
MARCIANO (voice-over): And with the town owning the utility, the added revenue helps the community. So everybody wins.
COLLINS (in news room): Rob Marciano is joining us now live from Lagrange, Georgia. Rob, are there other landfills that are going to be doing this, too?
MARCIANO: Yes, for sure there'll be more going online. There's already about 400, believe it or not, scattered across the country. Big companies like General Motors will tap some of the bigger landfills and use that gas for their factory.
Behind me is the capped landfill. It looks like an open prairie. It's actually sinking a little bit because once you tap the gas that actually allows the dirt and the land to compress and settle.
Here's one of the pipes that they use. They basically just stick a pipe in the ground like a straw and let that methane come out and then they pipe it to the conditioning plant, which is actually over here—conditioning skid, I should say. They compress it, they cool it, get some of the moisture out, get some of the dirt out and then they pipe it down to their customers.
Set up cost for this—it should take about five to seven years to recoup. After that, it's all gravy. And a capped landfill like this should—will last about 20 years. It will pump out methane for that long. And the town here, Heidi, is getting about $300,000 in revenue they wouldn't have had. So, the community is improving as well.
So hopefully this is a model that will continue to catch on as we try to curb greenhouse gases across the country.
Source: Cable Network News, "CNN Newsroom," May 4, 2007.