DTE Energy finds new use for landfill gas

DTE Energy finds new use for landfill gas

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Source: Canton Renewables Source: Canton Renewables
CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) -

DTE Energy is turning trash to gas.

The utility says it's producing natural gas for homes from the Sauk Trail Hills landfill in Canton Township in western Wayne County.

Two-thousand customers are signed up and dozens more are on a waiting list. DTE Gas is the first utility in Michigan and one of the first in the country to develop such a program for residential customers.

DTE says it has invested $2 million to build a pipeline and a meter station at the landfill.

A company called Canton Renewables, a subsidiary of Clean Energy Renewable Fuels, built a plant to purify the landfill gas. Prior to construction of the 9,380-square-foot processing facility, all the biogas produced at Sauk Trail Hills was being burned off into the atmosphere using a flare.

"This is a prototype, a one of a kind plant," explained Rob Redden, one of the construction project managers. "We've been told that there are no other landfills to natural gas facilities like this in the country."

What is unique about the Canton site is that they take the raw product, scrub it, process it, and send it to the grid for public use. "Other plants go through many of the same processes that this facility does," Redden explained. "However, for them to achieve the same 'finished' product, they may have to transport their product to various facilities to complete the processes that are housed here in one location."

Biomethane is a gas that's produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. A landfill is an ideal source of biomethane and after it's processed, it can be used as vehicle fuel.

The new Canton facility is designed to treat raw landfill gas and remove impurities so it meets pipeline quality requirements to be sold as natural gas. The plant is expected to process green biomethane equivalent to 6 million diesel gasoline gallons a year.

Residential natural gas customers can support DTE's green efforts by subscribing to the DTE Gas' BioGreenGas program for $2.50 per month.

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