Alabama Manufacturer Builds Plant Next to Landfill to Use Landfill Gas as Fuel
Alabama Governor Bob Riley joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson October 20 at the groundbreaking of the Jenkins Brick Company new facility in Moody, Alabama. The facility is the first U.S. manufacturer to build next to a landfill in order to use landfill gas as a fuel. The new factory will be one of the largest brick-making facilities in the country, and it will obtain 40 percent of its energy from landfill gas when it opens next year. Eventually it will run entirely on landfill gas, which is considered to be a renewable energy resource, as the plant expands over the years.
Johnson said that the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 62,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. This is the equivalent of planting nearly 14,700 acres of forest or taking 10,000 cars off of the road. Landfill gas is composed mostly of methane, which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas then carbon dioxide. Johnson said, "What I like best about this project is that it uses a recycled source of energy. By taking landfill waste and turning it into wealth, we’re building an inexpensive, plentiful energy supply for America."
For more information about the groundbreaking, see the October 20 EPA press release.
Jenkins Brick Company is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and has been using landfill gas to fuel its Montgomery brick plant since 1998. The success of this project convinced Jenkins management to build its next manufacturing facility to take advantage of local landfill gas.
The landfill owner, Jenkins Brick and Veolia Environmental Services, is a partner with the EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program to create a first of its kind landfill gas energy project. The EPA publishes a project description on its Landfill Methane Outreach Program Web site.
St. Clair County, Alabama, commissioners helped the company select Moody to locate its brick factory by declaring the 160-acre site to be an industrial park in August. The designation helps the company apply for grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) as the plant expands. The county also paid a $40,015 share of a matching grant from the Community Development Block Grant Program to build a rail spur to the industrial park.
Jenkins Brick Company is investing $43 million in the project, and it is expected to employ 35 – 55 people. The pipeline from the landfill to the brick factory will cost $3 million. Because the pipe from the landfill to the Jenkins factory will cross city lines, the city expects to collect tax revenues from the project. For more information, see the Jenkins Brick Company October 20 press release.
In a related story published in the October 27 edition of SNL Energy Renewable Energy Week, Waste Management Inc., reports that the company is now capturing landfill gas at 102 of its more than 300 landfills it operates. Electric power generators operating on landfill gas are usually rated at 3 megawatts (MW) to 10 MW capacity. Altogether, Waste Management operates 475 MW of power generation at its landfills.
The company notes that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has increased interest in landfill gas by providing tax credits worth $0.009 per kilowatt-hour of generation. Those credits are scheduled to expire at the end of 2007.