Waste Management to expand Iowa biogas project

By Chris Hanson | July 12, 2013

Waste Management of Des Moines, Iowa, announced it is expanding its landfill biogas-to-electricity facility at Metro Waste Authority in Polk County.

With construction projected to begin in October, the expansion will include the installation of three Caterpillar 3520 generator sets with the possibility of installing a fourth. Including the fourth generator, the expansion is projected to produce the same amount of power as the original Metro Methane Recovery Facility with half the number of generators.  Once complete, the combined facilities will combust roughly 2,400 cubic feet of landfill gas per minute to generate electricity for both MidAmerican Energy and Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.

The new addition will generate and sell 4.8 MW to MEAN.  Thomas Hadden, executive director of Metro Waste Authority, credited CRM Inc. for finding MEAN, which was looking for alternative energy sources for its portfolio. He added that without the new agreement, the project would probably not have been a possibility.  

The biggest motivation for the expansion was to minimize methane flaring as the landfill grew in the last decades.  “It was a very significant amount of methane that I thought could use it for other purposes,” Hadden said. “We just want to use it as a resource instead of seeing a big, Bunsen burner, basically.”

Hadden also said the partnership would allow MWA to leverage WM’s expertise and work to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and provide additional revenue to offset operational costs.

The MMRF originally began in 1993 as a partnership between MWA, WM and MidAmerican Energy. Currently, the project generates 6.4 MW using eight generators.