Methane From Landfill to Power Part of Toyota’s Georgetown Plant

Early next month, Toyota’s Georgetown plant will begin harnessing gas from a nearby landfill to provide some of the facility’s electricity.

The project is based at the Central Kentucky Landfill, which is about seven miles from the Toyota plant. Methane — a potent greenhouse gas — is created in landfills when organic material decomposes. For the past 13 years, the Central Kentucky Landfill has released some of that gas into the atmosphere and flared off the rest.

Related Story

Soon, Landfill Gas Will Power Part of Toyota's Georgetown Plant

Now, 90 percent of that methane gas will be run through pipes to a power generation facility on site. It will create electricity, which will be fed directly through underground wires into the Toyota plant.

Initially, the methane gas will provide about 2 percent of the plant’s power, or enough to build 10,000 cars, Toyota Energy Management Specialist Chris Adkins said. But as the landfill matures and produces more gas, the electricity output will increase, too.

“It’s been a really good project,” he said. “Some of the benefits are cleaner air for the surrounding area, reduction in methane emissions, a big greenhouse gas contributor. This is a good positive all the way around, cleaner for the environment here, cleaner power for us, and a good partnership with the landfill.”

Adkins said the project would result in modest cost savings for Toyota; the environmental benefits are the main driver for the company.

Globally, Toyota has a goal of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from its plants entirely by 2050.

Featured photo courtesy Toyota.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.