California Gov. Gray Davis announced Monday that Burbank is
California's first full-time landfill power plant using microturbine
These generators convert methane gas, a natural byproduct released
when trash decomposes, into clean energy.
"It's a demonstration project," BWP Marketing Manager Jeanette Meyer
said. "There was the feeling that we were just flaring the natural gas
instead of using it for productive means, so there's an environmental
aspect to this."
In accordance with pollution standards, BWP has usually burned away
the methane gas. Now the gas is harnessed and converted to 300 kilowatts
-- enough to power at least 250 homes, BWP officials said.
Burbank City Council approved the power project three months ago after
BWP received a $250,000 grant from the California Energy Commission.
BWP also applied $250,000 of its own funds to finance the project,
which has been in the works for a year.
BWP General Manager Ron Davis said that he expects many utilities to
begin using the new technology of landfill microturbines if one
complication is overcome.
"Methane gas from landfills is pretty toxic stuff, and it tends to
burn up equipment," Davis said. "The advantage with our units is that
they are designed specifically for landfills. Time will tell if they hold
up or not."