In honor of Earth Day on April 22, we are highlighting one of our sustainable programs here at CAES. For the past 10 years, the CAES Lansdale, Pennsylvania, facility has been helping the planet through a voluntary program that turns trash into energy.
All of Lansdale’s Municipal waste is used for waste to energy creation, which helps to power communities. This is done in two ways: a process that creates steam to turn electricity producing turbines and a waste-to-gas program using gas emitted from a landfill.
Bryan Ordway, CAES EHS Engineer III, said getting the program off the ground was actually easy to accomplish, as CAES Lansdale already had the right partnerships in place. And now 10 years later, Lansdale continues to be a waste-to-energy facility with plans to continue the program.
“Good environmental stewardship is essential, and we’re proud of our sites taking steps to support more sustainable practices,” said Steffanie Easter, CAES chief sustainability officer. “By participating in a waste-to-energy program, we’re not only furthering sustainable business practices, but also supporting one of the communities we work in.”
In the first method, Lansdale waste is transported to a local facility that takes non-hazardous waste – otherwise destined for a landfill – and combusts it, generating steam for electricity production. Every year, this facility processes more than 400,000 tons of waste (including waste from CAES Lansdale),reducing greenhouse gas emissions by thousands of tons. The facility uses this waste to produce 32 megawatts of electricity 24/7 - enough to power 18,000 homes for a year.
While a portion of the waste is transported to a landfill, the gases that the landfill emits are also used to create energy. As organic material in the landfill decomposes, it emits methane gas. This gas is then collected and sent to a gas-to-energy plant, also called a compressor station. The compressor station processes the gas for use by offsite industrial customers, where the gas is used to fuel engine or turbine generators.
The CAES Lansdale facility is ISO 14001 certified, which is the international standard for environmental management systems. Lansdale is the only CAES site to have this certification. Through the waste-to-energy program, the Lansdale site is helping to contribute to a more sustainable CAES.