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Environmental Benefits of Altamont Landfill LNG

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Published on Sep 8, 2010

Nestled in the hills of the Altamont Pass near Livermore, California, the award-winning Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Facility is one of the most sophisticated landfill operations in the country. It is closing the loop on waste using advanced technology and sustainable practices, including the following:

Landfill Gas to Energy: The Altamont was an early adopter of landfill gas capture and conversion to energy. Since 1987 it has been producing enough green electricity to power nearly 8,000 homes annually.

"Closed Loop" Fuel: In 2009 Waste Management opened the world's largest landfill gas to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant at the Altamont. For the next 25 years without another morsel of organic material entering the landfill, the Altamont will produce more than 10,000 gallons a day of ultra low-carbon natural gas from the existing organic waste-in-place. Harnessing the gas from trash is the ultimate "closed loop" approach to managing historic waste streams. Altamont LNG is currently powering more than 300 of Waste Management's growing fleet of alternative fuel collection vehicles in California.

Reduced Carbon Footprint: Altamont LNG has the lowest carbon density of any fuel available today -- about 85% lower than either gasoline or diesel according to the California Air Resources Board. Use of Altamont LNG is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30,000 tons a year. The carbon footprint of a solid waste collection vehicle running on Altamont bio-fuel is even less than a plug-in electric vehicle.

Organics Solutions: Diverting organic materials from the Altamont Landfill and harnessing its power to create energy is a priority. Waste Management is making a significant investment in technology to introduce closed-loop systems at the Altamont to capture the energy of decaying organics and return the compost by-product to local gardeners and farmers.

The Altamont is on the forefront of landfill gas collection and green energy production. Landfill gas is produced by the natural decomposition of historic organic waste present in landfills. The gas is comprised of roughly one-half methane and one-half carbon dioxide. Since the 1980s, the Altamont has featured an elaborate network of wells and a vacuum extraction system to capture the gas, convert it to green power, and flare any residue to prevent it from entering the atmosphere.

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