Largest landfill power plant in N. AL opens in DeKalb Co.

Published: Apr. 22, 2014 at 9:17 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2014 at 9:17 PM CDT
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The plant is capable of generating up to 5 mW of energy.
The plant is capable of generating up to 5 mW of energy.

DEKALB COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The largest landfill power generation plant in North Alabama is now complete and online in DeKalb County.

A ribbon-cutting was held Tuesday at the DeKalb County Landfill. The plant is capable of producing five megawatts of energy, enough to power about 3,000 homes, and it is fueled by your household garbage.

Methane gas is produced from the garbage in the landfill, and is typically burned off. Instead, the gas is collected and used to burn in large engines, which turn turbines to create electricity that is in turn sold back to TVA.

Unlike other forms of alternative energy, company officials said methane gas is a steady stream of fuel 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"I think wind works very well when you've got a good resource like in Texas and the Dakotas," said Energy Developments President Steve Cowman. "Landfill gas is a base-load power, so it's a very cost-efficient way of producing power. You're taking a waste material, converting it into sustainable energy. The landfill is going to be here for 50 years."

There are two smaller landfill power generation projects for TVA in Alabama: one in Decatur, which produces about 1.6 mW of power, and one in Scottsboro that produces just under half a megawatt.

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