WASTE NOT

Local landfill launches clean fuel operation

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As organic waste in a landfill breaks down, it releases methane – the gas is now being captured by dozens of collectors spread across the Pinehill Landfill.

Flowing to a brand new landfill gas-to-energy facility on site, the decomposition byproduct is being processed to natural gas standards and piped away in a clean fuel project officially unveiled Tuesday at the Republic Services operation north of Kilgore.

The Environmental Protection Agency quantifies the benefits of ‘high BTU’ landfill gas projects, says Luke Morrow.

“It shows that this project offers the same carbon reduction as that of over 182,000 acres of forest annually,” the president of Morrow Renewables said at the landfill Tuesday morning, the mounds of the landfill on one side, the towers of the new plant rising behind him. “It is also the equivalent of removing the carbon dioxide emissions from almost 22 million gallons of gasoline annually.

“As Republic and Morrow continue to expand the project, these reductions will grow and help offset even more carbon emissions in future years.”

The Pinehill high BTU project is Morrow Renawables’ eighth in the United States (five of which have been built in Texas), its third with Republic Services.

“We believe in leading by example in everything we do,” said Republic Services General Manager James Murphy. “The modern landfill presents new opportunity to harness energy from yesterday’s waste and convert it to meet tomorrow’s fuel and energy needs.”

According to Republic Services, the proper handling of landfill gas and liquids is key to responsible landfill management.

Controlling the natural byproducts of the decomposition of waste, “It requires considerable science, engineering and technology to manage an evolving waste stream in a manner that is protective of the air, land and water for generations to come,” the company reported Tuesday. “Landfill gas-to-energy projects like these involve capturing methane as organic waste breaks down. The gas can be processed to meet natural gas pipeline quality specifications, converting organic waste into a clean fuel and energy source for future generations.”

The local project was a year in the making, Morrow said, thanking Mickey and Denny Smith for helping move the project to completion “in record time” alongside the efforts of the workers at Republic Services.

“We have been so very thankful for their commitment to the environment, to clean fuels and to the communities in which they operate,” Morrow praised. Working together in East Texas for eight years, “It is great to work with good people and even better to work with friends.

Morrow’s company is based in Midland, and “Being a lifelong Texan, I can tell you with great pride that the State of Texas now has more high BTU landfill gas projects than any other state in the nation,” the Pine Hill project moving Texas out of a tie with Ohio and Pennsylvania (with three more Lone Star State projects under construction).

According to a press release from Republic Services, the landfill gas-to-energy operation will generate an estimated 404.7 million cubic feet of renewable natural gas per year as Pinehill continues to serve customers and communities across more than 40 counties and 62 cities throughout Northeast Texas.

“We’re selling gas to California today,” said Gene Keenon, the company’s manager of municipal and government affairs, welcoming a slate of local elected officials to the project’s ribbon cutting this week.

The project adds more life to the landfill, Murphy noted, part of Republic Services Blue Planet sustainability initiative.

“We are proud to generate a renewable energy source that makes a meaningful and lasting environmental difference in our communities.”

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