Turning Gas in Landfill into Electricity

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BRADY TOWNSHIP -- The kind of gas that comes from a landfill is powering parts of Lycoming County.

Methane gas from the landfill is being turned into enough electricity to power 4,000 homes per year.

Truckloads of trash are trucked into the landfill near Montgomery every day. Over time, the garbage from homes decomposes creating methane gas.

That gas is now being harnessed by a new power plant at the landfill in order to create electricity. Local leaders dedicated the PPL Renewable Energy facility that taps the landfill for all that methane.

"Since June 1978 they've been putting garbage in, there's nine million tons behind me," said Steve Tucker, director of Lycoming County Resource Management Services.

Tucker oversees the landfill for the county and said about 70 wells were drilled into the decomposing layers of garbage and the gas gets pumped into the plant, then out to the power lines.

"We're looking out in the future now, energy production 40 to 45 years for this facility," he said.

Once PPL turns that methane gas into electricity at the Lycoming County landfill it is pumped to the federal prison near Allenwood. It powers about 85% of the facilities and that money then goes back into the coffers of Lycoming County.

"This green renewable energy, the electricity going into the grid, displacing other electricity that might be provided by other conventional fuel sources," said Rick Klingensmith, president for PPL Global.

The new landfill gas-to-electric plant is expected to generate more than just a few megawatts. Officials said it will provide for more than a million dollars per year for Lycoming County.