The Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Wash., has turned to the garbage dump to power its operations. One hundred percent of MSL's electrical energy needs now are supplied by "green power" provided by methane gas from a sanitary waste landfill. Green power refers to environmentally preferred power, generated by resources regarded as having certain environmental benefits--such as wind, solar and geothermal.
Landfill gas-to-energy plants are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the only renewable source of power that actually removes pollution from the air.
DOE has set a goal for each of its sites to purchase 3 percent green power by 2005 and 7.5 percent by 2010. PNNL's purchase of green power at MSL, coupled with its purchase of wind and small hydro-generated power for its operations in Richland, Wash., represents 15 percent of its total energy usage being generated by renewable sources.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.