Landfill Methane Outreach Program
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
MARS Snackfood US and the City of Waco Landfill
- Waco, Texas
- End User(s):
- MARS Snackfood US
- Food products
- City of Waco Landfill
- Landfill Size:
- 2.2 million tons waste-in-place (2003)
- Project Type:
- Project Size:
- 830 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm)
- $600,000 per year
- Environmental Benefits:
- Carbon sequestered annually by 2,200 acres of pine or fir forests, annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2,000 passenger vehicles, or carbon dioxide emissions from 24,000 barrels of oil consumed. Annual energy savings equate to heating 2,800 homes. Estimated emissions reductions of 0.0028 million metric tons of carbon equivalents.
- LMOP Partners Involved:
- CROMECO, Inc., MARS North America
- Last Updated:
When the price of natural gas skyrocketed, MARS Snackfood US (MARS) turned to landfill gas (LFG). For MARS, the use of LFG is expected to save $600,000 per year, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For its willingness to learn about the benefits of LFG energy and then educate and promote LFG usage to the community, its suppliers, and customers, LMOP recognized MARS as a 2008 Energy Partner of the Year.
During the late 1990s, CROMECO, Inc. approached MARS about an opportunity to utilize the LFG collected at the city of Waco's landfill. However, the company was hesitant for a number of reasons, including whether there was sufficient return to justify the capital costs and how the public would perceive using LFG in the manufacture of food products. With no outlet to sell the LFG, CROMECO installed electrical generation equipment and sold the power to a power developer.
However, by 2005 the cost for natural gas had greatly increased and more LFG was being collected from the landfill, which changed the economics of the project. Knowing that the LFG had greater economic value when directly used in boilers due to improved energy efficiency, CROMECO and MARS initiated discussions again. This time the talks resulted in a sales contract and development of a 5-mile pipeline to transport the LFG to the plant.
On May 13, 2008, more than 100 people celebrated the project team's hard work to bring the project to fruition. Then EPA Region 6 Administrator Richard E. Greene joined MARS officials during a ceremonial button push to start the company's first LFG energy project. An EPA press release is available from Region 6.
The project's highlights include the following:
- LFG replaces 60 percent of the plant's total boiler fuel requirements
- MARS spent less than $1 million to build new pipes on site and to retrofit its boilers
- The City of Waco Landfill is expected to provide gas to MARS for 25 years
Interviews and media tours resulted in favorable newspaper and television coverage. Stories rippled through regional and Internet media for weeks, further educating the public on the value of using this alternative fuel source. MARS also presented the success of its project at several national conferences, including ones hosted by Pew Center for Climate Change and NAEM, an association for environmental managers.
Turning waste into energy is a smart strategy for business and the environment. EPA is pleased to be working with partners like Mars on innovative projects like this one that deliver clean, renewable sources of energy. —Richard E. Greene, former Regional Administrator, EPA Region 6