General Motors and Detroit Renewable Energy have announced a renewable energy project to turn solid municipal waste from metro Detroit into process steam that will be used to heat and cool portions of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

When the project is operational, 58% of the plant's needs will come from renewable energy, making it the top GM facility by percentage of renewable energy used.

"We have 107 landfill-free facilities across the globe that recycle or reuse their waste, with some of it turned into energy," said Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy. "It made sense to explore this option with DRE at Detroit-Hamtramck, given their quality work in helping us manage our energy use at some of our other plants."

Detroit Renewable is able to process more than 1m tonnes of municipal solid waste into electric power and steam while also recycling nearly 40,000 tonnes of metal annually.

The steam will travel 8,300 feet through a pipe from processor to plant.

The pipe will provide 15.8 megawatts to the plant, or 12% of the automaker's overall goal of generating 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020.

Construction of the new steam line and associated energy infrastructure will begin later in November and become operational next spring.

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