February 21, 2020. The methane gas burned off at Will County’s Prairie View Landfill could soon be used as an alternative to diesel fuel.

The Will County Board, Illinois, approved a contract Thursday with Eco Engineers, a Des Moines-based engineering firm, to secure permits, attract buyers for the compressed natural gas (CNG) product and provide engineering services. The work is not expected to top $352,000 for the third and fourth phase of the project.

The board also approved three firms as finalists to design and build the physical plant where the methane gas will be turned into CNG, and recommended the county begin negotiations with the top firm, SCS Energy, of Long Beach, California, for the project work. Construction of the plant, which could start in the fall of 2021, is estimated to cost about $30 million.

A portion of the methane gas now produced at Prairie View Landfill in Wilmington is converted into electricity at a gas to energy plant operated by Waste Management. The county takes in an average of about $450,000 each year from the sale of the electricity produced at the landfill.

But as the landfill continues to take in more trash, it produces more methane gas. The county is embarking on its latest project to convert the excess gas produced at the landfill into a renewable natural gas energy source.

The compressed gas generated at the landfill could be used as an alternative to diesel fuel sold as renewable identification numbers, or RINs, to companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint, said Dean Olson, division director of resource recovery and energy for the Will County Land Use Department. Consultants at Eco Engineers estimate the compressed natural gas plant at the landfill could generate a net profit of about $12 million after expenses and financing costs in the first year of operation, based on current market prices.