One institution's trash is another's energy source.
Several small colleges in Virginia are switching to landfill gas as their source of electricity. Emory & Henry College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College and Sweet Briar College are partnering with landfill gas energy operator Ingenco.
Ingenco captures methane generated by landfills, converts the gas to electricity and sells the electricity back to utilities.
The switch is expected to save Emory and Henry between $500,000 and $1 million over the 12-year contract's life. It also could potential cut the school's carbon footprint in half, Jesse Freedman, the school's energy manager, told the Bristol Herald Courier (http://bit.ly/1e7D7Cn ).
"As far as we know, we're the only small liberal arts colleges who banded together to buy renewable electricity," Freedman said. "It saves money and helps us do some good."
Freedman said the college is expected to make the switch within the next two months. The electricity will come from a pool generated from landfill gas states across the state.
Ingenco is working to establish a facility at the landfill in Bristol, Va. The electricity that is generated will be sold to the Tennessee Valley Authority, which provides power to the city.
"To a landfill, landfill gas is a problem," Alan Petersen, vice president of development for Ingenco, told the newspaper. "It's an expense, and they're regulated to capture and dispose of the gas. To us, it's a product."
Bristol also is expected to benefit from the partnership, receiving revenue from a product that's available but being wasted, Allen Morris, the city's director of public works, told the newspaper.
Ingenco's facility will be located near where the city already flares off the landfill's methane. Landfills can produce methane for years after they are capped, Morris said.
Petersen said the company is expected to be on site later this year.
Information from: Bristol Herald Courier, http://www.bristolnews.com
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