Turning Trash to Energy
SERC Facilitates Methane Recovery Study at Lake County (Colorado) Landfill
In partnership with SERC and Lake County Government, during the 2009-2010 academic year a team of senior engineering students from Colorado School of Mines will technically assess the possibility of capturing and utilizing methane gas at the Lake County Landfill. The research will also focus on how expanded gas recovery could factor in the County’s five to seven year master plan. Following Commissioner approval, the students’ feasibility study will culminate with a recommendation to Lake County Government, including rough engineering plans and projections.
According to landfill employee Jennifer Martinez, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment is mandating that methane recovery be part of every new landfill expansion. By embarking on this study now, Lake County is taking a proactive rather than reactive approach. Discussions have already focused on the potential utilization of methane on site to heat the indoor recycling center.
Last year, this collaboration resulted in Mines’ students providing design engineered plans for the new Lake County Community Park in Leadville—a cost savings of approximately $50,000 for the project. “I cannot overstate how impressed we were with the work of the students,” stated Project Chair Peter Frykholm. “Lake County is wise to engage with this program once again. I have no doubt that the Mines students will provide some key answers and ideas for the County’s landfill.”
As the students begin their engineering study and analysis during the Fall 2009 semester, updates and photos will be posted at the SERC website.