Until recently, the town of Medora – population 600, about an hour’s drive north of Louisville, Kentucky – was perhaps most famous as the location for John Mellencamp’s 1985 music video, “Hurt so good.” Now, the town can claim a different accolade: host of a first-of-its-kind renewable natural gas (RNG) plant.
bp’s Archaea Energy announced the official startup of its Archaea Modular Design RNG plant in Medora, next to a landfill owned by Rumpke Waste and Recycling.
The Medora plant converts landfill waste into renewable natural gas, reducing emissions, improving local air quality and providing fuel for homes, businesses and transportation.
Landfill gas, which includes methane, is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of trash in landfills and a form of greenhouse gas. It’s a global challenge: according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about 570 million tonnes of methane are emitted every year from both industrial and natural processes. Using the Archaea Modular Design, the Medora plant captures gas from Rumpke’s landfill and converts it to electricity, heat or renewable natural gas, which leads to cleaner air, less odor and renewable energy when compared with traditional fossil fuel energy.
Deployment of the plant also represents an industry first, streamlining and accelerating the time it takes to build plants. Traditionally, RNG plants have been custom-built, but the Archaea Modular Design, allows plants to be built on skids with interchangeable components for faster builds.
bp purchased Archaea in December 2022 to speed the company’s net zero ambition. Archaea is a key part of bp’s plan to increase biogas supply volumes by around six times by 2030, to about 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
The Archaea acquisition makes bp the largest RNG producer in the US, enhancing its ability to support customers’ decarbonization goals and progressing its aim to reduce the average lifecycle carbon intensity of the energy products it sells.
In Medora, the Archaea plant can process 3,200 cubic feet of landfill gas per minute into RNG – enough gas to heat around 13,026 homes annually, according to the EPA’s Landfill Gas Energy Benefits Calculator.
Archaea Energy’s plant in Medora is the first of forty new plants the team is aiming to bring online in the next two years – and a leading piece of the foundation of Archaea’s future success.
“What we are doing at the Medora plant is phenomenal and it’s just the beginning of what’s to come at Archaea," said Starlee sykes, CEO Archaea Energy. "This is a powerful step forward in our net zero journey to capture landfill emissions and provide customers with lower carbon fuel. I’m in awe of our team who designed, engineered and built this facility and we can’t wait to bring more online across the US.”
Archaea Energy is the largest RNG producers in the US. It has an industry-leading platform and expertise in developing, constructing, and operating RNG facilities to capture waste emissions and convert them into low carbon fuel. Archaea also has long-term exclusive gas rights with landfill owners and a significant existing set of influential customers.
Bioenergy is one of bp's five strategic growth engines and is expected to deliver around $2 billion in EBITDA in 2025 with a goal to deliver more than $4 billion in 2030.
The world needs a better, more balanced energy system. But we can’t switch the old energy system off until we’ve built the new one. That’s why the solution is AND, NOT OR – investing in today’s energy system AND investing in the energy transition.
This is bp’s strategy – investing in five transition growth engines (bioenergy, EV charging, convenience, renewables & power and hydrogen). AND investing in our core oil and gas business while reducing our emissions. bp expects to invest up to $8 billion more in its transition growth businesses this decade to reach more than 40% of its total annual capital expenditure by 2025, aiming to grow this to around 50% by 2030.
The faster we can grow our transition growth engines, the more we can do to help build a better energy system AND create value for our shareholders. More demand for biogas, for EVs, for hydrogen – means more growth for bp.