Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

August 16, 2012

Gas into cash — IDA targets landfill methane

Tazewell County officials are taking their goal of converting trash into gas another step further. It is our hope that the unique plan can produce positive dividends for the local governing body.

It was announced last week that the county’s Industrial Development Authority had entered into a partnership to capture, purify and sell the methane-containing landfill gas at the county’s landfill in Tazewell.

Landfill gas is produced from the natural decomposition of food waste, yard waste and other organic materials in the landfill. It typically consists of approximately 50 percent methane, 30 to 40 percent carbon dioxide and a 10 to 15 percent mixture of methane gas. However, natural gas is almost 100 percent methane, according to a county press release announcing the project.

While processes are available to remove carbon dioxide from landfill gas, many come at a great expense. To address the challenge, the Research and Development Committee of the Virginia Tobacco and Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission recently awarded Tazewell County officials a grant to help demonstrate and commercialize a recently patented landfill gas purification process. The patented process — called AdvanSorb — is capable of removing both nitrogen and oxygen, along with other components, and purifying landfill gas to natural gas pipeline specifications.

We believe this project presents a great economic development opportunity for Tazewell County. And we applaud the Tobacco Commission for helping to fund this unique initiative.

The current plan calls for an extension of a natural gas pipeline along the U.S. Route 19/460 corridor in the county. That, in return, will make natural gas available to the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park, Springville Elementary School and many other businesses and homes, according to Tazewell County Administrator Jim Spencer.

A compressed natural gas fueling station is also proposed to be built near the landfill in Tazewell for fueling compressed natural gas trucks, VDOT vehicles and other vehicles.

The project partners will also monetize carbon credits. For example, the Climate Action Reserve, a carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, recently listed the Tazewell project in its registry.

Partners in the Tazewell LFG Development LLC include Renew Fuels Inc., the non-profit Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Foundation, and the IDA.

Terry Kilgore, chairman of the Tobacco Commission, says the Tazewell project will help keep Virginia as an innovator in the field of energy.

The project, which is expected to start generating carbon offsets later this year, should be fully operational in 2013. It represents another example of Tazewell County officials thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating new economic development opportunities.

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