Solar and wind get all the attention, but there are other ways of responsibly generating electricity, some that even benefit from our waste.
Fujifilm’s Greenwood complex in South Carolina is home to five manufacturing plants that will derive up to 40 percent of their power from methane gas sourced from of the local landfill. The rest of the power is derived from natural gas. And as an FYI, Fujifilm makes more than just film.
This graphic provided by the company shows how the methane reclamation project works.
Methane, as you probably already know, is a super-greenhouse gas. If you think CO2’s bad, methane released into the atmosphere is 20 times worse – that’s why there’s so much attention drawn to the amount of cow burping and tail-end emissions.
So it makes sense to use it as a fuel. Fujifilm explains how and why:
Fujifilm uses the gas in two of its specially equipped boilers with a dual burner system that can be switched back and forth between landfill source methane and natural gas purchased from the Commission of Public Works. Fujifilm plans to use at least 197 billion BTU’s of energy from the landfill per year. According to the EPA (using national averages), this amount of energy would provide annual heating for over 5,000 homes. The amount of CO2 emissions destroyed and avoided would be equal to the emissions from over 17,000 vehicles each year.
And just in time too. According to Chairman of the Greenwood County Council, Robbie Templeton, a looming EPA deadline would have forced the local government to burn off the methane at the landfill.
On an unrelated note (and a chance to inject some NYC flavor), it turns out that Fujifilm is also a Friend of the Highline. The Highline is a remarkable preservation effort that turned old, elevated train tracks into an above-ground park that adds much-needed green space to a city known better for its canyons of iron, steel, asphalt and concrete.
If you’re in town, be sure to stop by.