The world’s largest landfill gas (LFG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility has begun producing clean, renewable vehicle fuel.

Waste Management, Inc., North America’s largest waste services company, and Linde North America, part of The Linde Group, have announced that their joint venture company has started producing the fuel at its facility, which is located at the Altamont Landfill, near Livermore, California.

The plant, which Linde built and operates, purifies and liquefies landfill gas that Waste Management collects from the natural decomposition of organic waste in the landfill.

The plant is designed to produce up to 13,000 gallons of LNG a day – enough to fuel 300 of Waste Management’s 485 LNG waste and recycling collection vehicles in twenty California communities.

Since the commissioning process began in September, the plant has produced 200,000 gallons of LNG.

“The Altamont LFG-to-LNG facility enables us to recover and utilize a valuable source of clean energy in another practical way, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Duane Woods, Senior Vice President for Waste Management’s Western Group.

“Conventional LNG is already a clean-burning and economically viable alternative fuel for our collection trucks. The ability to use recovered landfill gas to fuel our hauling fleet offers significant environmental benefits to the communities we serve in California and is a great example of how we are committed to recovering resources in waste.”

Pat Murphy, President of Linde North America commented, “Linde is proud to create a clean and green energy solution for residents of California. Landfill-gas-derived LNG is a super ultra-low carbon fuel, as designated by the Air Resources Board and the Altamont project is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30,000 tons a year.”

“Linde’s expertise in designing, developing and operating purification systems and LNG plants enables us to capture energy from waste that has decomposed in the landfill and repurposes it into a clean renewable fuel that offsets the need for fossil fuels - which reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

The Altamont LFG-to-LNG facility also meets two of California Governor Schwarzenegger’s environmental directives; the Bioenergy Action Plan, which seeks to advance the use and market development of biomass as a transportation fuel, and Executive Order S-3-05, which aims to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.

Four California agencies contributed to the $15.5m Waste Management – Linde project, including the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The management of several of the state grants has been provided by the Gas Technology Institute, which also licensed elements of the LNG production technology used in the Altamont facility.

Linda Adams, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency remarked, “The opening of the world’s largest landfill gas to LNG plant right here in California is a milestone and a testament to our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now that the technology has been proven, we look forward to seeing its adoption spread so more vehicles can run on garbage.”