First U.S. landfill-to-natural gas plant coming to Walnut

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Air Liquide

One of Air Liquide's European biogas purification units.

Mississippi will soon be home to a first-of-its kind plant—but it’s not the Kemper County energy facility.

French multinational gas supplier Air Liquide announced on Thursday its plans to construct and operate a biogas purification plant that aims to transform landfill gas to renewable natural gas.

Air Liquide says the plant, slated for the town of Walnut, in Tippah County, will have the ability to purify methane emitted by decomposing organic matter in landfills to make it suitable for heating, much like natural gas.

Air Liquide will also build and operate a four-mile pipeline that will feed the biogas it produces into a natural gas pipeline in the area, expanding Walnut’s utility services.

“We are certainly pleased to play a part in bringing this exciting renewable energy technology to our landfill operations in Walnut,” said Bobby Thompson, chairman of the Northeast Mississippi Solid Waste Management Authority, in a statement.

Touted as the first landfill biogas purification plant in the U.S., the company expects to break ground on the plant in the first quarter of 2017. The converted gas released from waste should transform into a renewable energy capable of heating an estimated 4,500 homes per year, the company said.

The site is owned by the Northeast Mississippi Solid Waste Management Authority and operated by national solid-waste company Waste Connections and receives approximately 350,000 tons of waste per year.

Chet Benham, vice president of Air Liquide’s U.S. division of advanced technologies, said the project’s final product—a renewable, lower carbon energy—would benefit the plant’s surrounding cities.

In April, the Air Liquide said it launched 12 biogas purification units in Europe during the year prior, tripling its capacity there. Worldwide, Air Liquide has designed and deployed 50 such units, according the a Natural Gas World report.

“The installation of the pipeline will enable us to expand our utility services to support our continued growth.” said Vicki Skinner, mayor of Walnut, in a statement.