Alternative fuel source could come from landfill in Arkansas

September 29, 2014 0 By Bret Williams

The city of Conway has voted to search for methane gas under its landfill.

Last week, Conway leaders agreed to drill pilot wells for the purpose of searching for methane gas beneath the city’s landfill, which, if found, would be purified and transformed into an alternative fuel source that could be sold, used to power vehicles or produce electricity.

Conway’s mayor believes that it will “be a good investment for the city”.

Methane gas is a natural byproduct of the million tons of waste that rots in the landfill. The unfiltered gas that is produced by the waste can be harmful to people and it can even be explosive. However, when it is purified it could become a valuable resource to the city’s economy, particularity as an alternative fuel source for vehicles.

Mayor Tab Townsell explained that considering the potential benefits of harnessing the gas, it makes sense to find out if there is any value in it. “With the payback potential we’re already set up to take advantage of yeah you bet I think it’s going to be a good investment for the city,” Townsell said. “In the end I think [car gas] will be a perfect use for this type of gas once we capture it,” he added. Alternative Fuel Source - Conway, Arkansas

Conway has already invested $100,000 to discover if there is sufficient, good quality gas. If it turns out that there is, the city will pour another $1.7 million into the project. While, at first, the size of this investment seems steep, the Arkansas city would, in reality, be saving money over time. The reason is that the amount the city spends on diesel prices ($3.50 a gallon) would be significantly reduced when it makes the switch to natural gas ($1.50 a gallon).

Two of the city’s garbage trucks are already powered by an alternative fuel source.

Conway also has plans for two more trucks to run on natural gas. In addition to the garbage trucks, the city is also working on an initiative to switch its police cruisers to natural gas. Therefore, if it turns out that the methane gas is a useable alternative fuel source, the city could greatly benefit from its investment.