A partnership between the district and Sheriff’s Office has resulted in a fleet of vehicles operating on fuel generated at the landfill.
In time, the plant will produce fuel enough to power 50 vehicles. The methane which operates the plant is recovered as a by-product of decomposing waste buried in the landfill.
A ribbon-cutting of the processing facility was held Wednesday, with a large crowd getting background on the facility’s construction as well as a tour.
Michael Michels, vice president of BioCNG of Madison, Wisc. said the plant “says a lot about the ingenuity and forward thinking of this parish.”
He said that while installations will soon be made in states such as California, Ohio and New York, the unit here is the first outside Wisconsin.
The plant is capable of processing 50 cubic feet of methane gas per minute, turning that into 250 gallons of vehicle fuel a day at a cost of less than $2 per gasoline equivalent.
Cost savings with hydrocarbon gasoline hovering around $4 a gallon are obvious.
Sheriff Bobby Guidroz told those on hand Wednesday he is saving about $5,000 monthly on his department’s $40,000 monthly fuel bill and that any vehicles his department buys will run on BioCNG as well as gasoline.
Prior to BioCNG’s invention of the equipment used at the new plant methane gas-capturing required large refineries and large volumes.
The landfill established a gas collection system in January of 2009 that is currently generating about 300 cubic feet of gas per minute, according to Solid Waste Executive Director Katry Martin.
The plant dedicated on Wednesday was paid for by federal stimulus funds and EmPower Louisiana Transportation Efficiency and Alternative Fuels Program grants.
State Rep. Ledricka Thierry was credited by Martin with helping hold the financing package together at the state level.