Landfill operators explore energy-creation options

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Gas produced by a southern Indiana landfill could be captured and used to generate revenue, but Cummins workers who studied the possibilities say local officials shouldn't take the idea to the bank just yet.

The five-member Cummins Inc. team spent about 300 hours researching options for a landfill near Jonesville, about 60 miles south of Indianapolis. They interviewed potential customers and partners, conducted technical reviews, visited five landfills, interviewed landfill specialists and reviewed landfill project articles, The Republic reported.

The team then determined that capturing the gas and selling it to a utility or using it to generate electricity to sell to industrial customers made the most sense.

But team members say the idea won't be fiscally feasible until the landfill begins producing enough gas to warrant an investment of millions of dollars in equipment to capture it. That could take at least a decade.

"This is a long-term project," said Jim Murray, director of the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District.

The Cummins employees partnered with the waste district last year to determine how best to use the gas produced by local landfills.

The county landfill opened in 1999 and contains about 1.8 million cubic yards of waste. It is designed to hold about 10 million cubic yards and is expected to run out of space in 2082.

The landfill produces carbon dioxide and methane gas from plants, paper and food that decompose.

Murray says the landfill will produce so much gas in the next 12 to 15 years that government regulations will require the district to capture or burn off the gas.

The Cummins team says both options are feasible but that selling gas would be preferable.

The team also has proposed uses for a smaller landfill in Petersville, including a greenhouse or an artist incubator.

Matt John, program chairman for agriculture at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus/Franklin, said the college would welcome a greenhouse that could give high school and college students access to hands-on learning.

Cummins engineer Alberth Franco, who participated in the project, estimated that a small greenhouse would cost about $45,000.

Murray said raising the initial money for the project would be easier than making the project self-sustaining.

"I think there's some real potential," Murray said.


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  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

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  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

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