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August 2012
Mas Energy develops U.S.’s first-ever trigeneration landfill-gas-to-energy system

EPA names system offtaker to list of largest on-site green-power generators

ATLANTA, Ga. (August 2, 2012) -- Mas Energy, an international renewable energy systems developer, has developed the first-ever trigeneration landfill-gas-to-energy system in the United States. The 6.5-megawatt system--which began operations earlier this year--supplies electricity, steam, and chilled water to an Atlanta-based beverage processing facility. The system provides most of the beverage-production plant's energy needs, offsetting the use of fossil fuels.

The offtaker, a leading international beverage manufacturer, engaged Mas Energy to develop the project as part of its global carbon-reduction strategy. The trigeneration facility was a major factor in the offtaker being named to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of the largest on-site green-power generators (view press release:

"This project was a natural fit for us," said Michael Hall, Mas Energy Principal. "It required a thorough understanding of not only the design, engineering and technical aspects, but also the commercial, financial and legal components."

As the project's developer, owner, and operator, Mas Energy acquired the landfill-gas rights, secured financing, negotiated agreements, and oversaw all permitting, regulatory compliance, design, construction and operations.

The system generates at least 48 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of on-site biomass energy annually--the equivalent of eliminating the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 6,000 passenger vehicles per year. Overall, it is expected to reduce the beverage producer's carbon footprint by approximately 20,400 tons annually.

The trigeneration project includes a vacuum-collection system that captures methane gas from a nearby landfill. Methane, a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is naturally produced as organic waste breaks down anaerobically in landfills. Mas Energy's system converts the gas to clean-burning fuel and pipes it to the trigeneration facility via a six-mile pipeline.

Trigeneration, or combined cooling, heat and power, refers to the simultaneous generation of electricity and useful heating and cooling from the combustion of fuel (which, in this case, is derived from converting landfill gas to clean-burning fuel). Waste heat is used for both heating and cooling, achieving overall higher efficiencies than both traditional and cogeneration facilities.

At the trigeneration plant, located adjacent to the beverage manufacturing facility, three reciprocating engine generators use the gas as a primary fuel source to produce energy. Three heat-recovery steam generators convert the engines' heat exhaust into steam. A  steam-turbine-driven chiller uses the steam to produce chilled water.

According to the EPA, as of July 2011 there were 558 operational landfill-gas-to-energy projects in the United States and an additional 510 landfills that are good candidates for such systems. The EPA estimates the gas-generation potential of these untapped landfills is 210 billion cubic feet per year, with an electric potential of 1,165 megawatts.

In addition to their environmental benefits, landfill gas-to-energy systems' online reliability is typically more than 90 percent. The systems also act as long-term price and volatility hedges against fossil fuels. According to the EPA, corporations investing in landfill-gas-to-energy systems include GM, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, Anheuser Busch, Frito Lay, SC Johnson, Cargill, Du Pont, Tropicana, Dow, Tyson, BMW, Ford, and Kimberly-Clark.

About Mas Energy

Mas Energy develops, owns and operates energy systems around the world, with a focus on renewable and clean energy--including wind, landfill gas, combined heat and power, geothermal, and district energy--as well as delivering critical energy systems in developing countries. With more than 70 years of combined energy-development experience, the firm's principals structure highly complex projects and transactions that mitigate risk and drive returns for some of the world's largest companies, investors, utilities and other energy buyers.

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