Your Next Car: Production Powered by Landfill Gas?
NEW YORK (MainStreet) You say you like that new car smell? Well, take a whiff of this: Toyota will soon use local landfill waste gas to build cars it's a process the company says will supply enough power each year to produce 10,000 vehicles.
Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky manufacturing plant will utilize a network of wells to collect and prepare landfill gas, which is naturally produced by the deterioration of solid waste. Comprised of about 50% methane, the gas will fuel generators for electricity that will then be routed through underground transmission lines to the manufacturing plant, located a few miles south of the landfill.
Toyota says the system will generate one megawatt of electricity per hour enough to power the equivalent of 800 homes, based on average consumption in the U.S. Meanwhile, landfill greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by as much as 90%, according to the company.
Construction on the power plant will begin next month, with completion targeted for early 2015. The Kentucky plant has also been a "zero-landfill" facility since 2006, meaning any waste generated at the plant gets repurposed instead of rejected. Some of the waste goes into a composter, used to fertilize an on-site garden. Situated on the manufacturing plant's 1300-acre campus, the garden supplies 11,000 pounds of produce each year that is donated to a local food bank.
The Kentucky plant built the first American-made Camry in 1988. Since then, nearly 10 million vehicles have rolled off the assembly line. The facility employs 7,000 full-time workers and also builds the Avalon and Venza, as well as four-cylinder and V-6 engines. Beginning in late 2015, the plant will begin production of the first U.S.-assembled Lexus, adding 50,000 vehicles to its current annual capacity of 500,000 units.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet