GM gets steamy with Detroit renewable energy

Detroit-Hamtramck plant will meet 58% of power needs with steam generated from municipal waste.

November 20, 2013   by PLANT STAFF

DETROIT – General Motors (GM) and Detroit Renewable Energy are teaming to develop a renewable energy project that will turn solid municipal waste from Metro Detroit into process steam used to heat and cool portions of GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

©General Motors Co.

When the project is operational, 58% of the plant’s energy needs will come from renewable energy, making Detroit-Hamtramck the top GM facility in the world 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, GM’s global manager of renewable energy. “It made sense to explore this option with DRE at Detroit-Hamtramck, given their work in helping us manage our energy use at some of our other GM plants.”Detroit Renewable is able to process more than 1 million tons of municipal solid waste into electric power and steam while also recycling nearly 40,000 tons of metal annually.

The steam will travel 8,300 feet through a pipe originating at Detroit Renewable Power and ending at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

The steam pipe will provide 15.8 megawatts of renewable energy to the plant, which equates to 12% of GM’s overall goal of putting 125 megawatts of renewable energy into its energy portfolio by 2020.

Construction of the new steam line and associated energy infrastructure will begin later this month and become operational in the spring of 2014.

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