EPA's 'Climate Showcase Communities' Grant

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The City of Keene, in partnership with Carbon Harvest Energy Inc., will transform the Keene Recycling Center and closed Landfill into a demonstration-level green energy project for greenhouse gas management through a combined heat and power plant (CHP) using methane from the capped landfill. By utilizing an EPA grant for carbon reduction known as the 'Climate Showcase Communities' grant, the City of Keene and will implement an amazing project. Carbon Harvest Energy develops landfill gas-to-energy projects linked to sustainable agriculture and algae culture systems for maximum use of energy and environmental resources, and is currently operating a similar in nature project in Brattleboro, VT. The proposed power plant will provide up to 560 kW of renewable energy to the grid and produce heat for a greenhouse aquaponics project and algae for animal feed and possibly biofuel production. The combination of these technologies creates a more efficient and profitable system than the City’s existing methane to energy plant as it converts waste landfill gas, heat and greenhouse gases into valuable resources. Given the City of Keene’s steady commitment to building a sustainable community and addressing the issue of climate change, the research and educational resources at Keene State College, a partially developed site and project at the landfill, and a growing local, sustainable food sector of the economy, this is an ideal opportunity for a successful community project that can be a model in the region, the state, and across the nation.

chediagramThis public/private partnership project will capture and demonstrate beneficial use of landfill gas, a potent contributor to global warming. As partner, Carbon Harvest Energy will restore the existing gas collection infrastructure from the existing gas-to-energy project currently serving the adjacent Materials Recovery Facility’s (MRF) electrical needs, while designing and installing a new system with state-of-the-art combined heat and power (CHP) generation plant, controls and monitoring. Three phase power will be extended to the facility to allow a connection to the electrical grid. Once the CHP plant is generating electricity to the grid, Carbon Harvest will build a 20,000 square foot greenhouse with aquaculture and plant production for year-round, high quality fish protein and fresh vegetables, which will be sold locally. The CHP power generator will provide low-cost heat to the greenhouse, and the recirculating aquaculture systems will provide high value organic nutrients for the plants and the algae culture system. High winter heat demands of the greenhouse are balanced by high summer heat demands for algae processing, so all heat value is utilized. Combustion exhaust from the CHP plant and waste from the aquaculture facility are recovered to become the nutrient and carbon sourcefor algae production. Working within research and development partnerships with the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School, Keene State College and Dartmouth College, the algae culture system will be designed to capture remaining wastes and carbon and convert them to algae for production of biofuel and livestock feed for fish and poultry.

This zero fossil fuel facility will remove approximately 20,000 metric tons of carbon per year from landfill gas emissions and convert this source of greenhouse gas into high quality local food, biofuel and aquaculture feed while producing virtually zero waste. Perhaps most important, due to the existing infrastructure, this project is ready to begin now. The City of Keene acquired the funding support from the EPA in the “Climate Showcase Communities Grant” needed to begin the project by extending three-phase power to the site and purchasing a new 350 kilowatt generator to be used in addition to the existing generator.

The Keene Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) has been operating without grid interconnect by utilizing a landfill gas to energy plant built in the 1990s. The plant has been providing a significant portion of the MRF’s energy needs, supplemented by a diesel generator when gas production or quality becomes insufficient or unreliable. The deteriorating gas collection system and old energy plant are becoming increasingly inefficient. The City of Keene and Carbon Harvest Energy propose to upgrade the facility with state-of-the-art equipment and controls. This project will restore and improve the existing gas collection system, adding modern controls and equipment to improve collection efficiency leading to increased methane gas recovery. A new, more efficient and reliable 350 kW generator will be purchased and installed, to run in parallel to the existing 250 kW generator. Gas and system monitoring and control equipment will be added to improve overall system management and allow collection and logging of gas system and equipment performance, gas quality and capture efficiency. Three-phase grid interconnect will be brought to the site allowing the renewable power generated to be distributed to the grid 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

When the system is upgraded and managed for optimum landfill gas recovery, the total greenhouse gas recovery value is 20,000 metric tons per year. Additional values of removing the Keene MRF of any dependency on fossil fuels, providing fossil fuel free heat to the greenhouse and aquaculture system while providing local sustainably raised foods, coupled with research and development of algaeculture technologies for carbon recovery from combustion gasses and production of biodiesel and animal feed, makes this a truly unique and efficient model of greenhouse gas management and integrated environmental stewardship.