UNC and Orange County Open Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project

Date: November 9, 2010

Source: University of North Carolina

Media invited to new UNC-Orange County landfill gas project event

Rep. Joe Hackney, North Carolina Speaker of the House, will speak at this event to mark the launch of a project to convert methane gas from the Orange County landfill into electricity. The event is co-hosted by Chancellor Holden Thorp of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chair Valerie Foushee of the Orange County Board of Commissioners because Carolina and the county are partners in the project. Orange County Commissioner Barry Jacobs and Ray DuBose, director of Energy Services at UNC, will also speak.

Photo opportunities: At the end of the speeches, the platform party will go outside for a ceremonial and symbolic lighting of a gas flare. A tour of the landfill site also will be available immediately following the ceremony on a first-come, first-served basis.

Directions and parking: The Solid Waste Administration Offices Building is on Eubanks Road, about halfway between Rogers Road and Millhouse Road. Parking for the event is available next to the building. Please contact News Services no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, if you plan to attend.

Background: Methane gas is many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. With this project, methane gas from the Orange County landfill that is currently being released into the atmosphere (and contributing to global warming) will be captured and converted into electrical energy. At first, the methane will be destructed by flaring. Next UNC will use the energy to power its complex of buildings along Airport Drive, with the potential for it to be an energy source for the first buildings constructed at Carolina North. In both cases, UNC will gain carbon credits for reducing pollution.

The first phase of the construction project is the installation of the gas collection and flaring system, with that system operational in July 2011. The second phase, piping the landfill gas to a generator for producing electricity, is expected to be complete by April 2012.

News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415, susan_houston@unc.edu.

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