New renewable natural gas facility opens in Inver Grove Heights

A new landfill gas recovery project in Inver Grove Heights is expected to produce the equivalent of 6.3 million gallons of gasoline per year of low-carbon renewable natural gas.

The facility opened Tuesday and is headlined by OPAL Fuels, NextEra Energy Marketing and Republic Services. The group says it’s the first landfill renewable natural gas production facility of its type in Minnesota.

The new facility captures naturally occurring biogas, made up in part by methane, from Republic’s Pine Bend Landfill and transforms it into renewable natural gas (RNG), according to an OPAL Fuels release. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

“This facility is consistent with our belief that a substantial reduction of carbon emissions in the electricity, industrial and transportation sectors is possible, which represents a significant investment opportunity in the coming decades,” said Rebecca Kujawa, president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Resources.

The facility is replacing a landfill gas-to-energy facility at the site. Its renewable natural gas will be injected into Xcel Energy’s pre-existing gas pipeline instead, making it available as a transportation fuel. When used as a transportation fuel rather than diesel, RNG can reduce carbon emissions dramatically, according to OPAL.

Xcel has been partnering on similar projects since 2019, when Englewood and Littleton, Colorado, began pumping RNG from wastewater treatments facilities into the company’s natural gas system.

Republic Services says it has entered a joint venture with Archaea Energy to develop 39 landfill RNG projects across 19 states, including the Pine Bend project in Minnesota.

“By utilizing a natural renewable byproduct of the landfill, we can produce a low-carbon transportation fuel that helps Minnesota and our local community achieve their climate action goals,” said Matt Healy, Republic Services Midwest Area president.

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