Pittsburgh-based Montauk Energy
is expanding its landfill gas-to-energy operations with the acquisition of seven landfill gas-fueled electric generation projects in Texas and California.
Montauk specializes in the recovery, management and utilization of landfill methane, an industry that has continued to grow, albeit slowly, nationwide. Landfill gas projects, which turns methane gas given off by decomposing garbage into power, have increased from 399 in 2005 to 519 in 2010 nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The beauty of the business is it's not only entrepreneurial but sustainable, says Marty Ryan, vice president. As garbage decomposes, it creates a gas that is half methane, a greenhouse gas deemed worse for the environment than either carbon dioxide or coal. Instead of escaping into the atmosphere, landfill operations collect the gas and treat it so it can be used to power homes and vehicles.
The acquisition means Montauk owns and operates 12 projects in nine states, enough to meet the energy needs of about 60,000 homes, and is in the process of developing another five that will provide for the annual energy needs of 26,000 additional homes, says Dave Herrman, president and CEO.
The company has local operations in Monroeville and Irwin; the remaining sites are in Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, California, Oklahoma and Georgia. Montauk primarily focuses on the production of renewable high BTU pipeline quality gas and electricity as well as carbon capture projects.
The company employs 60 nationwide including 18 corporate staff in the Greentree office and seven in field operations staff in the region. Montauk anticipates a staff expansion of 10 percent in 2011 to accommodate growth.
"Our vision of the future is to really take the next step and use it as transportation fuel," explains Marty Ryan, vice president. "We're trying to get landfill owners to convert their trucks to natural gas. The end product we sell now is cleaner than the natural gas found in the ground."Source: Dave Herrman, Marty Ryan, Montauk EnergyWriter: Deb SmitFor more of Pittsburgh's latest and greatest, click here to receive Pop City in your inbox for free every week.