Renewable Natural Gas plant in Lawrence, KS landfill gives old trash a new purpose

By Rochelle Valverde, Lawrence Journal-World.

The tons of trash buried in the Hamm landfill north of Lawrence are now a source of energy.

A new multimillion-dollar plant at the landfill has begun collecting the harmful greenhouse gas produced by rotting trash and turning it into fuel for natural-gas-powered vehicles. 

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Hamm officials said that the new plant joins other projects in recent years, including the recycling center and a new system for capping landfills, that lessen the landfill’s impact on the environment. 

“All of these projects are a great story for the community,” said Charlie Sedlock, director of waste services at Hamm. “Added taxes, added jobs, added sustainability.”

The landfill serves about 500,000 Kansas residents, including the City of Lawrence. The new plant collects and processes methane gas, which is released as organic material as trash decomposes. Hamm partnered with Renewable Power Producers, a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Enerdyne, for the $20 million methane gas plant, which includes extraction wells, a gas-processing facility and a seven-mile gas pipeline.