Another Chance For Trash

on August 01, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Who said trash is waste?

The renewable energy arm of Pennsylvania utility PPL opened its newest gas-fired plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania in late July, powered by methane from the local landfill. Officially named the Glendon Green Energy Park, the project was funded in partnership with the state and Chrin Brothers Inc. and cost $8 million to build.

The methane-fueled power plant is estimated to produce 25 million kilowatt-hours annually, enough electricity to power 2,200 homes. The state and Chrin invested $1 million in the plant with PPL contributing the rest.

“Environmentally, it’s a home run,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer.

Chrin hopes to encourage industrial companies to make use of the plant’s electricity while Millennium Design Builders, the company that constructed and will operate the plant, conducted a study to ensure that noise from the plant will not disrupt the citizens of the area.

Krancer described the situation as a “win-win” for both the government and the community, as the facility will help to diversify the state’s energy portfolio.

The project will add to PPL Renewable Energy eight already existing landfill-to-electricity projects, including plants located in New Jersey and New Hampshire. Landfill gas projects have become increasingly popular as a way for landfill operators to gain additional revenue, although the practice is not yet widespread.

And across the country, Arizona State University students are also working to give waste another chance. They are designing a dog waste digester for the town’s Cosmo Dog Park that will also generate methane gas and eventually small amounts of electricity. Breaking Energy covered that story as part of its series on urban energy innovation.