America’s first plant to convert landfill garbage into fuel

America’s first plant to convert landfill waste into gasoline and other useful petroleum products just went online in Oklahoma.

The plant absorbs excess methane and other gases generated by landfills and can convert it into useful fuels. This micro channel gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant use a series of chemical reactions to transform natural gas or gasify solid fuel — such as coal or biomass — into hydrocarbons and water.

The plant is relatively small, and can only convert about 300 barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In comparison, the largest oil refinery on the U.S. Gulf Coast has a capacity of almost 600,250 barrels per day.

Small-scale GTL plants could become a more attractive option in the future, owing to new rules created by the Bureau of Land Management. These proposed rules would limit the amount of methane flared or vented from oil and natural gas production activities, which would encourage conversion operations by GTL plants instead. If gas from these activities were converted to liquid, it could be transported by vehicle or pipeline and sold.