From Landfill to Energy: Biogas in Santa Fe
San Jose, California is on its way to becoming America’s first zero-waste, energy-independent city. Food and organic solid waste will be diverted from landfills and converted into high-quality compost to be used for local agriculture, as well as methane-rich biogas energy. The biogas facility proposed for this endeavor will be the largest in the country. Located next to a water pollution treatment plant, the biogas energy generated will first be directed to the water pollution plant, and then the utility power grid.
Analogous initiatives in Vermont include the “Cow Power” program, which runs generators from cow manure. The program, started in 2004 and coordinated by Central Vermont Public Service, currently consists of six dairy farms throughout central Vermont, which together generate between 0.78-3.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
The municipal biogas generator at the Essex Junction Wastewater Treatment facility has produced methane gas from sewer sludge. Since 2003, the plant has generated about 350,000 kwh of electricity per year. The project is supported by the carbon-offset and consulting firm, NativeEnergy.