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Another power source

As energy providers look around for new sources of electric power – wind gaining special popularity in the Northwest – here’s one that could be highly useful and available all over the region:

Tapping into methane gas found at landfills, and converting it into energy.

The Kootenai Electric Cooperative, based at Hayden, is planning to use methane gas emerging from the Fighting Creek landfill. The Spokesman Review quotes its marketing manager as saying, “We have a unique situation here, which makes this a wonderful project. We have fuel in close proximity to the power lines. Basically what we’re doing is putting a generator in between the two. So it’s very economical. The power will go right to the power lines.”

That may be a better-than-average situation, but it probably could be managed at many other locations as well. There’s a neat efficiency to the concept, and useful environmental cleanup alongside.

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One Comment

  1. fortboise fortboise March 6, 2010

    Here’s a rundown of a whole bunch of landfill gas projects:

    It’s on the Fed’s radar: the EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program:

    In the FY 2008 report of the Ada Co. Solid Waste Management Department, they show 2% of their revenue — $262,272 — from sale of landfill gas, to a co-generation facility. “Ada County captures enough landfill gas for its contractor to generate roughly 3.2 mega-watt [sic] of electricity – enough electricity to power about 2,400 homes.”

    One of the technical problems in using this gas is that it’s typically 50-50 CO2 and methane, so only half the energy of “real” natural gas, and it has some nasty other components that make it corrosive. (H2S, I imagine.)

    Ada Co. started their effort back in 2005.

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