In 2014, the companies listed below reported that over 91 million kilowatthours of electricity were generated by biomass energy in Nebraska, an increase of 25 percent from the 2013 generation of 73,291,626 kilowatthours (see graph and table below). The increase is due to the addition of the City of Lincoln's Bluff Road Landfill.
The City of Lincoln and Lincoln Electric System have partnered on the Landfill Gas to Energy Project to harness the methane gas produced at the City of Lincoln's Bluff Road Landfill. The Landfill Gas to Energy Project is a 4.8 megawatt Lincoln Electric System power generating facility fueled with methane gas produced at the City of Lincoln's Bluff Road Landfill. The plant began commercial operation January 1, 2014. The project will provide the area with annual greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to the emissions from about 24,000 cars. To operate the plant, the Lincoln Electric System will purchase about 300,000 million British thermal units (Btu) of landfill gas from the City of Lincoln and use it to produce electricity capable of serving about 2,500 local households. The Lincoln Electric System has agreed to purchase the methane gas recovered from the Bluff Road Landfill and to convert all of the methane gas to electricity.
Timberline Energy has constructed and is operating a methane recovery and processing solution that processes methane recovered from the Butler County landfill into clean energy that is used in the boilers of Henningsen Foods. This is an example of a direct use solution. The clean methane provides a renewable and sustainable fuel source, displacing natural gas to fire steam boilers. Only a portion of the natural gas used by Henningsen Foods is displaced by the landfill methane. The Butler County project went commercial in July of 2008.
OLean Energy, owned and operated by Danny and Josie Kluthe, began generating electricity from methane in September, 2005. The facility is the first methane recovery project that uses animal waste as a renewable energy source to generate electricity. The 8,000-head hog operation is located in Colfax County, three miles west of Dodge, Nebraska. Manure is pumped into a digester where it is heated and stirred to generate methane gas. The methane is captured by the digester cover and piped to the genset building where it is used to power an engine. The engine powers a generator that distributes electricity into Cuming County Public Power District's power lines. Nebraska Public Power District assisted in the project's electrical interconnection to Cuming County Public Power District's distribution system. OLean Energy has a total capacity of 0.08 megawatt. The average annual output could power 35 homes.
Elk City Station, operated by the Omaha Public Power District, is the first power plant in Nebraska to collect and burn methane to produce electricity. The station started generating electricity from methane in April, 2002. The methane is obtained from the nearby Douglas County Landfill. Elk City Station is a base load unit indicating that it can run year round. Elk City Station recently completed an expansion and now has a total capacity of 4.6 megawatts. The average annual output could power 4,000 homes.
The Theresa Street Waste Water Treatment Plant, operated by the City of Lincoln, started generating electricity from biomass in November, 1995. All of the electricity is used by the plant in its operations. The Theresa Street facility uses an anaerobic digestion process which is the breaking down of organic solids by microorganisms into a more stable form. The production of methane gas is a by-product of the anaerobic digestion process. At the Theresa Street facility, the methane gas is used by two enginators as fuel to generate electrical power and to provide heat for the digestion process. The enginators can produce as much as 900 kilowatts of power while maintaining a temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit in the three egg-shaped digesters. This benefits the environment by reducing the need for electricity produced from fossil fuels and utilizes the methane gas which would otherwise be wasted.
The City of Omaha operates the Missouri River Treatment Plant and the Papillion Creek Treatment Plant. The plants started generating electricity from methane in 1985. The Missouri River Treatment Plant added a 1 megawatt generator in 2001 in addition to the existing 1 megawatt generator installed in 1985. At this time, only data for the Missouri River Treatment Plant from 2003 to the present and data for the Papillion Creek Treatment Plant for 2005 to the present is available.
For more information, see Operational Electric Generating Units.