Canadian Manufacturing

GM investing $24M in landfill gas power at pair of U.S. plants

Will generate more than 14 megawatts of electricity, eliminate $10-million in energy costs



DETROIT—General Motors is sinking $24-million into electrical generation equipment at a pair of plants in Indiana and Michigan that use landfill gas to power their manufacturing operations.

According to the automaker, the new equipment at its assembly plants in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Orion, Mich., will generate more than 14 megawatts of electricity from the renewable energy source while eliminating more than $10-million in energy costs and 89,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

That, GM said, is the equivalent of removing more than 18,500 passenger vehicles from the road.

“We have made a public commitment to increase our use of renewable energy within GM to 125 megawatts by 2020,” GM global manager of renewable energy Rob Threlkeld said in a statement.

“This expansion represents more than 10 per cent of that goal.”

The investment will see powerhouses built at each assembly plant, as well as generation equipment and machinery.

Orion Assembly has used landfill gas since 1999.

Currently, the renewable energy source helps heat a portion of an upgraded paint shop that uses half the energy per vehicle as the one it replaced.

When the new project is complete 54 per cent of Orion’s energy will come from renewable landfill gas, according to GM.

Fort Wayne Assembly has used landfill gas since 2002, with the new investment increasing its landfill gas use four-fold, to 40 per cent.

“With this project in place, we are converting landfill gas into our own electricity, which, in essence, allows us to act as our own utility,” said Bill Mortimer, GM co-generation project manager.

“Not only does this help us save on energy costs, but it limits the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere.”

Construction on both projects is now underway, and is expected to be complete and operational by May of 2014.

Fort Wayne Assembly is home to GM’s full-size pickup offerings, while the Orion plant builds the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano.

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