Louisville Waste Management to use landfill methane as fuel

The owner of the only landfill in Jefferson County, Waste Management, will start to put the trash to use.

"When trash is disposed of, over the span of 15 to 20 years, it biodegrades, and it gives off gasses,” said Andy Reynolds, public sector manager for Waste Management.

The gas is mostly methane, which is a greenhouse gas that warms the atmosphere.

“We actually burn it off,” Reynolds said.

Waste Management reduces greenhouse gas emissions by burning it in a flare. The company says it’s working on a way to use the methane for fuel by investing $30 million in new technology to take the gas out of the ground and put it directly back into a natural gas pipeline.

“The emissions rate will go down quite a bit,” Reynolds said.

The amount of natural gas taken out of the landfill in one day could power 800 Waste Management trucks or run 12,000 homes, according to the company.

Waste Management’s 80 truck fleet switched from diesel fuel to natural gas fuel five years ago.

“Since we are removing the gas from being flared, we are putting it back into our trucks," Reynolds said. "So we are reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, so it will make for cleaner air for the city."

The company says it's just starting the permitting process for the green project, but Reynolds says he's confident it will be approved.

The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.