Methane to Power Toyota Plant

It was announced in November that the Toyota Georgetown, Kentucky plant had plans to activate a landfill gas generator. In doing this, the plant would be able to use methane from decaying garbage from a nearby dump to produce a megawatt of power each hour. The kind of electricity you see from this type of system will help to build 10,000 vehicles at the plant, per year.

 

Toyota plays with the idea years ago

Toyota talked with the landfill owner in 2010 about the possibility of using a methane-fueled generator. In 2014, their plan was officially announced, and construction began on the project. Once the gas stops burning, an underground line will take the electricity from the dump to the factory to help build Toyota hybrid models, such as the Camry and Avalon. The Toyota company has an overall plan of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from all factories by the year 2050, and switching to hydrogen-based production. Toyota’s general manager for environment strategies, Kevin Butt, has stated the company’s intention of reducing their carbon footprint over the next 35 years. Toyota isn’t the only auto company utilizing methane from garbage dumps to power factories. BMW and General Motors both use a similar system at two of their plants, in different parts of the country.

 

Positive changes in the past month

Since announcing that the Georgetown plant would be using a landfill to help produce the electricity that can help build cars, the plant is doing well. They are getting about two percent of their power from a Central Kentucky landfill. The community has shared their appreciation for the plant and that they are turning garbage into something good. With so many in the town employed by this plant, it brings a large sense of pride especially to a community that has recently been struggling with employment rates. These large employment rates increase the amount of debt the citizens have to take on during these hard times in the form of car title loans. Mike Price, the Vice President of Administration for the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, could not contain his excitement for the plan. It is exciting because they are using methane that is no longer being released into the air, and is serving a better purpose. Over the year spent developing the project, the company spent $5 million to build transmission lines that carry electricity to the plant. Kevin Butt explained the process in that the lines go from one site, where it is being generated, all the way to the plant. David Hurley, an employee at the Georgetown plant said that at first, they had a lot of questions about how the partnership with the landfill was going to work. Hurley moved to Georgetown to begin his position with Toyota and respects the partnership the company made. It actually gives him a sense of pride because he is doing good for both the company he works for and his community.

 

Toyota is doing a great job at really seeing how car emission can negatively affect the environment. Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States, so to change the way methane is used is a huge stride forward. You can learn more about the Georgetown, Kentucky plant and how they are converting landfill methane into energy, by watching this video.