Dane County starts turning landfill waste into vehicle fuel

April 30, 2019. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi stood at the county landfill with County Board members and project leaders to announce that Dane County (Wisconsin) has officially started injecting renewable natural gas (RNG) into its pipeline, signaling the completion of its landfill biogas project. With a ribbon cutting to mark the occasion this Earth Week, the county's landfill biogas facility is now able to turn trash and cow manure into renewable fuel and inject it into the interstate transmission pipeline so it can be bought and sold to power fleets of RNG vehicles locally and across the United States.

   'It's exciting to have this first-of-its-kind project reach the finish line so our area can begin to reap the financial and environmental benefits of the renewable fuel our landfill now generates,' said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. 'A huge thank you goes out to our partners and dedicated staff who made this possible. Dane County's landfill biogas facility and offloading station will advance our clean lakes and air efforts and also benefit Dane County taxpayers.'

   Dane County's landfill biogas facility will displace 3,000,000 gallons of fossil fuels in the first year of operation, with this number growing to 4,000,000 gallons per year in future years. Due to RNG having a lower carbon footprint, this is equivalent to taking 4,800 cars off the road. This is a CO2 emission reduction equal to over 24,000,000 pounds of coal burned. In addition to the facility's environmental benefits, it is estimated that Dane County will generate enough revenue from the facility to payback its $28 million cost of the project in just a few years.

   Biogas contains about 50 percent methane and is created when garbage at a landfill breaks down. While methane is a harmful greenhouse gas pollutant, it also makes up about 98 percent of natural gas-meaning biogas can be used as a renewable energy source. Dane County's landfill biogas facility is now allowing the county to convert its landfill biogas into vehicle fuel, thereby eliminating thousands of tons of carbon emissions, a leading cause to the extreme weather events triggered by climate change.