The first tri-generation landfill-gas-to-energy system in the US is now operational at a production plant of drinks giant Coca-Cola.

The 6.5 MW system supplies electricity, steam and chilled water to the processing plant in Atlanta and will generate at least 48 million kWh of on-site biomass energy annually. It is expected to cut the plant’s carbon footprint by approximately 20 400 tonnes a year.

The tri-generation project includes a vacuum-collection system that captures methane gas from a nearby landfill and converts it to clean-burning fuel and transports it to the facility via a six-mile pipeline.

Three reciprocating engine generators use the gas as a primary fuel source to produce energy, three heat-recovery steam generators convert the engines’ heat exhaust into steam and a steam-turbine-driven chiller uses the steam to produce chilled water.

The system was installed by international renewable energy developer Mas Energy and the company’s Michael Hall said the project “was a natural fit for us”.

“It required a thorough understanding of not only the design, engineering and technical aspects, but also the commercial, financial and legal components,” he added.

Mas Energy acquired the landfill-gas rights, secured financing, negotiated agreements, and oversaw all permitting, regulatory compliance, design, construction and operations.

The development of the tri-generation system was a key factor  in Coca-Cola being named the third largest on-site green power generator in America by the US Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month.

Brian Kelley, chief product supply officer at Coca-Cola, said the system “creates multiple benefits. It helps us meet our environmental sustainability goals while reducing costs in our manufacturing process.”