City to Pipe Biogas from Farms to Power Recycling Plant

After years of debate and planning, the St. Paul, MN city council has voted unanimously to move forward with a unique plan to produce biogas from manure and ethanol waste in rural farms and pump it miles to power an enormous paper recycling plant.

The energy-efficiency of recycling paper is not the best, so this plan is a welcome alternative-fuel twist to the standard process.[social_buttons]

The facility, run by the Rock-Tenn company, currently burns a combination of natural gas and petroleum fuel, but previous had operated on steam energy from a coal plant that shut down last year. An alternative solution is important because the plant is highly energy-intensive, using about the same amount of power as 20,000 homes.

The recycling plant had considered moving to a location where energy costs could be kept down, but the city balked at the idea since the company employs 475 people. The city funded an intensive investigation into the best solution to the plants’ energy problem and decided on biogas for many reasons.

Building a biogas facility in the rural farm land keeps any kind of incineration process away from the Rock-Tenn’s surrounding neighborhoods.Β  The biogas plant will create more jobs and also benefit the farming community by providing efficient waste disposal, which will help keep their water supply clean.

Photo Credit: Matt Murphy on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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