December 6, 2010
Consult the classifieds in this issue to find 3 notices, 11 bids and proposals, and 7 job opportunities!
SARTA Considers Creating CNG Through ‘Anaerobic Digestion’
Who would think that the backyard compost pile could ultimately lead to a way to fuel buses?
The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) in Canton, OH, has entered into a contract with a Cleveland-based company to examine the possibility of using “anaerobic digestion” to create a gas that could be converted into compressed natural gas (CNG).
SARTA is preparing to replace about one quarter of its bus fleet next year, said Executive Director Kirt Conrad. The system already operates hybrid-electric and biodiesel-fueled vehicles.
The company, quasar energy group, has already placed biodigesters at other sites around Ohio, including the city of Akron and Ohio State University’s Wooster campus. The 30-foot or 60-foot tank—which Conrad called “a compost pile times 10 billion”—contains organic biomass such as food manufacturing waste or farm manure. In the oxygen-free environment, bacteria would convert the waste into a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide over a 28-day cycle. This gas can then be captured and either refined into CNG or used to generate electricity.
“If we enter into a long-term contract with quasar, we could purchase a diesel-gallon-equivalent of this fuel at below-market rates,” Conrad explained. He noted that the project would be eligible for a federal tax credit through the end of the year.
“I’m fascinated by the possibility of turning trash into fuel,” he added, noting that—unlike food crops such as soybeans and corn that are used for biodiesel production—this process would help the environment by reducing the amount of organic waste.