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US university powered by landfill gas

by David Masters
May 27, 2009

Campus buildings at the University of New Hampshire are to be powered using purified methane gas from a nearby landfill site.

Construction has finished on the university’s Ecoline project, which will provide up to 85% of its electricity and heat from natural methane gas.

The $49 million project has an expected payback time of 10 years, and reduces the university’s carbon emissions to an estimated 57% below 1990 levels.

“This project will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and stabilise our fuel source and cost,” said university president Mark W Huddleston.

“Ecoline showcases UNH fiscal and environmental responsibility and secures our position in sustainability.”

Methane gas from the landfill site is piped 13 miles to the University of New Hampshire’s cogeneration plant, where it will replace natural gas as the university’s primary fuel source.

In operation since 2006, the cogeneration plant captures waste heat created during the production of electricity, and uses this to heat campus buildings.

Any excess energy produced by Ecoline will be sold back to the electric grid.

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