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How Lebanon plans to power city buildings with landfill

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:35 PM EST
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LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) - Lebanon, New Hampshire, is working to turn greenhouse gas into electricity by using waste from across the Upper Valley.

The Lebanon Solid Waste Facility serves nearly two dozen communities in New Hampshire and Vermont. Soon, the trash residents drop off there will be used to power the city.

“As trash decomposes, it produces landfill gas,” Solid Waste Manager Marc Morgan said.

That gas is currently burned off. But, instead of burning it in the future, a new $5 million facility will use the gas to produce electricity using five microturbines.

“The gas will fuel these microturbine engines and those engines are like a generator at your home, produce electricity and then it will just go up onto these power lines and back into the system,” Morgan explained.

The conversion process will generate about 1,000 kilowatts of electricity. The renewable energy will be redistributed to the electrical grid in order to power city facilities.

The project is also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,500 tons per year.

Trash is something we all deal with.

“It’s a part of life just like gasoline, right?” said Paul Carlson of Lebanon, as he dropped off three bags at the landfill Tuesday.

Carlson says this type of recycling makes sense. He hopes the long-term energy savings for the city will ultimately benefit the taxpayer.

“I hope they can make some sense out of the project and get it online quickly and save us all some money and aggravation maybe,” he said.

City officials say keeping non-recyclable trash out of the landfill altogether also needs to be a priority.

“The city will continue its efforts to divert food scraps and promote recycling,” Morgan said.

The plan is more than a decade in the making but contracts are now out. The gas to energy project is expected to be operational in 2023.

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