Ohio Firm Hopes to Produce Electricity from Landfills
Nov. 30NORWALK, Ohio A hangar at the Huron County Airport will soon be home to an Ohio company that hopes to turn landfill gas into electricity all over the country.
BioGas Technologies LLC, which was established in 1985 and had been headquartered in a Cleveland suburb, is in the process of moving its offices and production facility into 15,000 square feet in the airport hangar, with tentative plans to start production by the end of next month.
The space is needed to assemble modules used to convert landfill gas, such as methane, into usable energy, said Jim Hiendlmayr, president of BioGas.
The modules, consisting of a trailer-like enclosure which contains an engine, generator, and cooling system, are 10 feet high by 10 feet wide by 40 feet long and weigh about 65,000 pounds, he said.
Each module can generate one to three megawatts of power, or enough to power 750 homes or a small manufacturing facility. Each unit is sold an average of $800,000.
"They normally pay for themselves in four years," Mr. Hiendlmayr said.
"If gas prices stay high and electric prices follow, 1/8these units3/8 may pay for themselves in even less time," said Neal Elliott, industrial program director at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy in Washington. Los Angeles powers its city government complex through such a process, he added.
The Huron County firm has contracts to build 20 modules, and expects to add 10 workers to its six now by the end of the year, he said. Mr. Hiendlmayr's wife, Gloria, is the company's secretary/treasurer. The units are standardized models but BioGas Technologies through the years has built customized modules to several communities, including Barrington, Ill., an upscale Chicago suburb.
Mr. Hiendlmayr's wife, Gloria, is the company's secretary/treasurer. The pair said the idea of turning landfill gas into renewable energy has been slow to catch on in Ohio because of the feared cost.
Mike Hogan, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Development, said its Office of Energy Efficiency would fund such a project through its energy loan fund grant program, but no applications have been submitted.
More than 1,500 landfills in the United States have some type of landfill gas to energy generating systems, said Mr. Hiendlmayr said, but more than 6,000 could use the technology.
The ultimate plan is for BioGas Technologies to build the unit, pay the community for the gas, and then sell the electricity, he said.
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© 2004, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.