Flathead Electric acquires second methane-burning generator for county landfill

Flathead Electric acquires second methane-burning generator for county landfill

Flathead Electric powered Cooperative (FEC) introduced Jan. 9 the order of a next methane-burning generator to be set up at the Flathead County landfill.

The Co-op mounted its to start with generator at the dump web-site in 2009. Functioning at around 90 p.c of its 1.6 megawatt capacity, it ordinarily generates enough electricity to electrical power about 1,400 properties in the Flathead Valley, claimed utility spokesperson Courtney Stone.

The new engine will double likely capability and increase redundancy.

While FEC gets most of its electric power from Bonneville Energy Administration hydropower, Stone is energized that the utility will be ready to deliver a lot more strength, adding diversity and dependability to a procedure that serves close to 57,000 members, in accordance to a statement.

The FEC, which ordered the 2nd motor with pre-appropriated ratepayer money, observed the possibility to increase in section for the reason that improves in waste in recent a long time have led to excess methane generation at the landfill.

“In the last 10 many years, the sum of trash sent to the landfill amplified by more than 3,000 tons a year,” explained Dave Prunty, Flathead Community Functions Director, in a statement. “We don’t undertaking a slowdown in garbage, so the time seemed ideal to associate again up with the Co-op and grow the gasoline-to-electricity undertaking.”

Stone explained that the venture would not guide to any level hikes for FEC customers.

Methane is in a natural way manufactured in landfills when biomass breaks down. The landfill has set up a procedure of pipes that captures and filters the methane for use as gas, which then powers the 20-cylinder Caterpillar engines.

Preliminary gas projections display enough methane gas to power each engines at about 75{5376dfc28cf0a7990a1dde1ec4d231557d3d9e6448247a9e5e61bb9e48b1de73} potential at first startup, according to the statement.

Methane, a greenhouse gas, is 21 occasions additional strong at capturing heat than carbon dioxide, according to the statement. Landfills are required by federal legislation to seize specified quantities to stop emissions. Burning the fuel emits carbon dioxide and drinking water, which are seen as environmentally preferable byproducts when in contrast with releasing methane instantly.

Most landfills burn the methane to satisfy their authorized obligations, and in Montana only the Flathead landfill has mounted a process to create electricity, in accordance to EPA documents.

The new motor is underneath construction and the authentic motor is having overhauled in Boise, indicating that for the instant, the landfill will have to “flare,” or burn, the methane. The first engine is scheduled to return from Idaho upcoming week, and the utility hopes to install the new 1 by May well.

Reporter Adrian Knowler can be reached at 758-4407 or [email protected].