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Landfill methane to power new ethanol plant
By ANN ALLEN
Indiana Correspondent

ROCHESTER, Ind. — In what boosters of a proposed ethanol plant to be located near Rochester call “the age-old story of one person’s trash being another’s treasure,” an agreement has been reached that will permit methane gas from a landfill to power the 100 million gallon per year plant.

Involved are Allied Waste Industries, owner and operator of County Line Landfill located north of Rochester on the Fulton-Marshall County line, and Indiana Renewable Fuels, LLD, a group of local agriculture businesspersons.

According to Allied, methane gas, produced as a byproduct from the natural decomposition of waste materials, is a safe, reliable and renewable energy source.

By utilizing a fuel otherwise not recovered for beneficial use, both partners say they understand the importance of their roles in helping preserve and improve the local environment, calling it both economical and environmentally friendly.

Glen Bode, Rochester, president and project manager of IRF, credited Allied and IRF board member Andy Perdue of Chicago-based Weaver Boos Consultants, for negotiating the agreement. “It’s a perfect marriage between the local projects that will afford IRF with an uninterrupted flow of low-cost energy and help Allied significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

He described the environmental benefit as being equivalent to planting more than 1,187,000 acres of trees or removing carbon monoxide emissions from more than 1,136,000 cars over the first 10 years of the project.

Terry Zona, Allied’s Indiana district manager, said the landfill gas recovery is an established technology used at hundreds of locations across the U.S. “The County Line Landfill is an important contributor to the local economy,” he said. “This project, with the job creation, local investment and renewable energy usage, is consistent with priorities of state leadership.”

The new IRF plant will use 37 million bushels of corn per year. Officials estimate the plant’s construction on a site yet to be determined will bring $135 million into the local community and provide 45 full-time jobs on completion. Fagen, Inc. of Granite Falls, Minn., will build the plant. Weaver Boos will design and install the pipeline connecting the landfill to the ethanol plant site.

This farm news was published in the April 26, 2006 issue of Farm World.

4/26/2006