SWACO to build Green Energy Center
Trash from SWACO’s Franklin
County landfill will soon be transformed into American made energy.
Ground has been broken by SWACO and FirmGreen of Newport Beach,
California for the $18-million Green Energy Center. The process
will convert landfill gas into methane and CO2. Eventually the
project is designed to produce seven million gallons of methanol
annually and could lead to Fuel Cell development. When operational,
The Center will annually reduce greenhouse gases in an amount
equal to the removal of nearly 2,000 cars from the road, reduce
oil consumption by 20,800 barrels, or the planting of 2,600 acres
The first phase of the project,
which will be operational by year’s end, is designed to
provide electricity to power SWACO’s Administration, Educational,
and Fleet Maintenance buildings. This should make SWACO 95% energy
self-sufficient, and save an estimated 10% on the Authority’s
electric bill and approximately 15% on its costs for propane.
The second phase of the project
will involve the cleaning and conversion of the landfill gas into
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). That CNG will fuel SWACO vehicles
and save around $100,000 a year in fleet fuel costs.
Phase three of the project will
begin converting the landfill gas into Methanol and CO2 for use
on the open market. FirmGreen plans to build a methanol processing
facility next to the landfill. SWACO will sell landfill gas to
FirmGreen to produce the methanol. Potential uses for the methanol
have already been identified as FirmGreen has signed a 10-year
agreement with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company to provide up to
6-million gallons of methanol annually.
Methanol has many industrial
uses including the mixture with soybean oil to produce “Biodiesel.”
This product can be used in most conventionally powered diesel
vehicles. Studies have shown that “Biodiesel” pollutes
less, and produces less wear and tear on vehicle engines. Phase
three is slated to be operational 14 months from the notice to
proceed. The potential of biodiesel production could boost the
demand for Ohio grown soybeans by up to 600,000 bushels annually.
(15,000 acres annually with an average yield of 40 bushels per
acre). FirmGreen also hopes to develop a 10-million gallon Biodiesel
plant. It would be the first worldwide to use green methanol produced
from landfill gas.
The methanol and hydrogen produced
by the facilities could also advance fuel cell technology with
Federal and State of Ohio assistance. FirmGreen hopes to produce
fuel cell demonstration projects in conjunction with local colleges
The Green Energy Center represents
an $18-million investment on the part of FirmGreen. It will create
125 construction jobs. When the facility is operating it will
employ 25 permanent workers.
The Green Energy Center is the
prelude to SWACO’s Pyramid Resource Center. The 225 acres
site across State Route 665 from the landfill is designed to be
a “green” business park. Part of the attraction of
the complex will be such innovations as electricity generated
from landfill gas. The Pyramid also promises “green construction
standards, a park-like campus, and a hub center for research and
SWACO is the Solid Waste Authority
of Central Ohio. Our mission is to reduce the reliance on SWACO’s
Franklin County landfill. To that end we promote and encourage
recycling as well as look for new ways to reuse our society’s
throwaways. SWACO owns, operates, and/or maintains the Franklin
County landfill, The Pyramid Resource Center, three transfer stations,
two yard waste composting facilities, over 60 drop-off recycling
locations, litter control programs, household hazardous waste
collections, computer and cell phone recycling and more.
Find out more at www.swaco.org.
Information on FirmGreen can be found at