Bellefontaine Examiner

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Landfill gas-to-energy initiative highlighted

Several dozen people gathered Thursday at Cherokee Run Landfill, 2946 N. U.S. Route 68, for the operation’s annual open house.

Landfill

From the left: Bill Troth, Robert Walker and Don Heath look over
information provided by Cherokee Run Landfill staff Thursday at
the operation’s 10th open house.

EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH

It was the 10th such event the landfill has hosted, staff members report.

Attendees were treated to lunch, plenty of SWAG (stuff we all get) and tours of Cherokee Run’s 120.2 acres.

Landfill staff spotlighted the facility’s most recent initiative — capturing landfill gas to generate 4.8 megawatts of electricity. The plant, responsible for seizing the gas, was built and is operated by DTE Biomass Energy Inc. and Shaw Environmental Inc.

Landfill gas originates from decomposing organic waste. Garbage contains portions of organic materials that produce multiple gaseous products inside landfills. Certain bacteria thrive in the landfill’s oxygen-free environment and aid in the decomposition process, which results in the production of gases — primarily carbon dioxide and methane.

Carbon dioxide is most likely to leave the landfill with liquids, because it is water soluble. Methane, however, is likely to migrate out of the landfill as a gas and can be captured, converted and used as an energy source.

Nationwide, of the 2,400 currently operating, or recently closed, municipal solid waste landfills, about 445 have gas utilization projects.

About 2,800 area homes are served by the landfill gas-to-energy projects at Cherokee Run. That’s equal to 37,550 passenger vehicles off the road or planting 45,596 pine or fir trees, according to information provided by landfill staff.

There are 90 gas extraction wells on site operating at a rate of 2600 cubic feet per minute. Bellefontaine Gas Production LLC owns the rights to the gas produced by the landfill.

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