DaimlerChrysler Corporation is tapping waste gases from the decomposition of landfill trash to provide power for its two St. Louis, Missouri, assembly plants.

The landfill gas contains 50 percent methane, a renewable fuel source that otherwise goes to waste. Methane is also a greenhouse gas, so the project will reduce use of fossil fuels and eliminate a source of greenhouse gas emissions. To use the captured gases, DaimlerChrysler will convert two of the four boilers in its St. Louis plant powerhouse.

"This is the way to make environmental protection work," said James J. Lyijynen, Vice President - Stationary Environmental and Energy for DaimlerChrysler. "We are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and cutting emissions from one of the primary sources of greenhouse gases, at the same time we are reducing costs for the company and our shareholders. That is sustainable environmental protection."

DaimlerChrysler's partners in the project are Superior Services of Onyx North America, which operates the landfill about three miles northwest of the St. Louis assembly plants, and Toro Energy which will provide the equipment for trapping the waste gases at the landfill, treating and compressing the gases, and piping them under low pressure to the plant powerhouse.

Previous projects have demonstrated that landfill gas is a clean, reliable fuel source. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the capture and use of landfill gas improves local air quality.

At the St. Louis facility, two of the plants' four boilers were modified to use landfill gas in a way that produces the same thermal characteristics as natural gas boilers. The boilers produce steam that is used for process heating, especially in the paint shop, and for space heating. In summer, the steam drives a turbine that powers three chillers for cooling.

The St. Louis project is scheduled to go on line later this year. The St. Louis North plant assembles the Dodge Ram pickup trucks; the St. Louis South plant assembles Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan, Chrysler Voyager/Grand Voyager and Town & Country minivans.