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JULY 2006


Dual-fueled trucks to be powered by trash

SWACO proceeds with active testing of three power systems for accurate evaluation

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has taken delivery of its first hybrid vehicle that will be powered by landfill gas. The 2005 Ford Sterling truck with a 12.7-Detroit series 60 diesel engine has been retro-fitted to be dual-fuel system powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and biodiesel.

Initially the CNG will come from a pump at the Franklin County complex on Alum Creek Drive. Within a few months, the CNG will come from landfill gas refined at the Franklin County Landfill. The biodiesel will initially come from another source, but eventually that fuel could also be manufactured by a blend of Ohio produced soybean oil and methanol that would come from the methane at the Franklin County Landfill.

SWACO executive director Mike Long sees this first step toward alternate fuels bringing multiple benefits. “Landfills as a source of over-the-road energy are an untapped market. It will allow us to save taxpayer dollars and cut emissions.” The new fuel system is expected to cut SWACO’s maintenance costs, provide less expensive fuel, and bring more (equivalent) miles per gallon.

The dual-fuel system is one of three power systems to be studied on SWACO vehicles. Another SWACO transfer truck will be run on pure biodiesel. The rest of the fleet will continue to run on standard diesel fuel.

The fueling system next to the Franklin County Landfill is part of the Green Energy Center to be built by FirmGreen Fuels LLC of Newport Beach, California. The Center is expected to produce up to 20 million gallons per year of methanol, which would provide up to 100 million gallons per year of B20 biodiesel to the marketplace.

Landfill gas will also be used to generate 1.6 MW from an engine and microturbines. Additionally, waste heat from the microturbines will provide space heat and hot water for the administrative office building and maintenance facilities of SWACO, the adjacent landfill operator.

The annual reduction of greenhouse gases attributable to this project has the same effect as removing the emissions of nearly 12,000 cars from the road for a year, reducing oil consumption by more than 142,000 barrels per year, or planting 16,704 acres of trees.

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