FERRIS - In 1987, Waste Management and the city of Ferris teamed up to do their part to help build a more sustainable society.
The result of 20 years of hard work and dedication was revealed Thursday when a new 7,500 square-foot landfill gas-to-energy power facility opened up, creating another source for renewable energy.
The Skyline disposal facility, located off of Interstate 45 in Ferris, is the 104th project of Waste Management, a Houston-based corporation that offers an economical and environmental alternative to fossil fuels.
Before the facility was opened, the waste coming from the decomposition of the landfill was simply burned through a flare system emitting the gas into the atmosphere.
Now, the Skyline facility can convert the landfill gas into electricity that will provide 6.4 megawatts of energy - or about enough renewable power to provide for 5,000 homes in the area.
“We are just proud to put another facility like this online to promote our green operation and safe operations. It is just a good thing for our company,” Waste Management representative Allen Hunt said.
“The fuel source for this facility is quite a unique aspect of the project. The renewable fuel comes from the waste that is soaked up in the Skyline landfill. We are very proud of the fact that we are utilizing renewable fuel source like landfill gas that actually displaces the use of fossil fuels in the power market. It further enhances our national goal on reducing our dependence on imported fuel,” he said.
The 363-acre Skyline Landfill facility accepts around 4,000 tons of solid waste per day. The process of converting landfill gas to energy begins when organic-rich solid waste is disposed into the landfill.
As the waste decomposes, methane gas is produced and recovered by a series of extractions wells placed into the landfill. The wells are connected by a collection system that transports the gas to the compression facility. There, the gas is processed to remove moisture before being delivered as fuel to an internal combustion engine, which drives a generator to produce electricity.
Not only has the landfill helped create a safer and cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, it has helped create an economic boon in the city of Ferris, something City Manager Gus Pappas said wouldn’t have occurred if it wasn’t for Waste Management.
“We have a post fee we receive which has basically been the financial backbone for the city and its operations,” Pappas said. “It’s allowed us to be able to provide city services that are really beyond our means and beyond our population.”
Pappas also said that after years of complaints stemming from the odor and explosions of the methane, the new facility will be a relief to Ferris citizens.
“The new facility bringing on the gas to electric will stop a problem with burning methane gas into the air,” Pappas said. “It puts us in a business that is a lot better accepted, and it’s nice to be a part of something that is so environmentally-friendly.”