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GM Plant Putting Garbage Gas to Work

Imagine taking a giant pile of garbage and turning it into electricity. General Motors is now taking methane gas from Fort Wayne's landfill and converting it into power.
Imagine taking a giant pile of garbage and turning it into electricity.

General Motors is now taking methane gas from Fort Wayne's landfill and converting it into power.

Rotting, stinky garbage could help build your next truck.

Methane gas naturally emitting from Fort Wayne's National Serv-All landfill is fueling that future.

“It's a bio-degradation process. So it's a natural process that occurs once the waste is put into the landfill, and it is considered a greenhouse gas, so we actually collect as part of our environmental responsibility, says Stephanie Goodman of Republic Services.

And now, it's pumped eight miles to the General Motors Assembly Plant in Roanoke, where these generators turn it to electricity.

"We were already burning landfill gas here. We've been burning landfill gas since 2002 in one of our boilers back here in the powerhouse,” GM Site Plant Manager David Shenefield says.

Shenefield says it produces six-point-four megawatts of total power.

He says that's enough to power nearly four-thousand homes for a month.

I don't know if you can hear anything in here because it's very loud in here.

But this new plant could power up to thirty percent of the entire GM facility.

Shenefield says it's also creating jobs.

"Here locally for us, we're right around four jobs for us, but in total, I know one day they were counting sixty-two construction workers on site,” Shenefield says.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says the new technology could bring more employers- and jobs- into the region.

"This is not only good for the environment, but it also makes a tremendous statement about how Fort Wayne wants to be in the fore front of a lot of new technology, new applications, and how we are truly sensitive to our environment,” Henry says.

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