Turning methane into electricity

Landfill will begin converting methane gas into energy in January

The Waste and Recycling Facility just outside of Chico on Neal Road is taking a big, green step in the right direction.

A ground-breaking on Oct. 20 marked the beginning of construction of a plant that will burn methane gas released by decomposing trash in the landfill to produce electricity, according to a press release. The project will be managed by Ameresco Energy, which was awarded a 25-year contract in 2008.

The project will initially produce 2.2 megawatts, although it has the potential to produce up to 4.3 megawatts, enough to power 4,000 homes. The plant will also reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to taking 17,096 cars off the road.

The methane gas will be collected through a system including 48 wells throughout the landfill starting in January 2012.