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While using waste methane from landfills or agricultural operations to produce electricity is becoming more common, EnergyNOW reports that Waste Management is going a step further and using the gas to power some of its garbage trucks in California.

As diesel gets more expensive, truck fleet operators around the country are considering a switch to compressed natural gas, which can be cheaper but comes with higher upfront fueling costs. And because natural gas is essentially methane, there’s no reason why waste landfill gas can’t be liquified and used in those same trucks.

The potential for landfill gas as a motor fuel is limited, however. EnergyNOW calculates that liquified methane could displace about 800 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, or about 2 percent of the total currently used.

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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