Landfill gas plan data evaluated

By Lawrence Gullery

Up to 800 homes could be powered by the region's rubbish if the long-awaited plan to convert landfill gas to electricity stacks up for Napier and Hastings councils at the end of the year.

The councils jointly own and run the Omarunui landfill near Taradale where the two have been monitoring the amount of gas flared off from the dump for the past decade.

The data has been passed on to consultants Tonkin and Taylor for analysis and used to assess the viability of a landfill gas-to-energy project, an idea first floated in 2006.

Omarunui landfill joint committee chairperson Wayne Bradshaw said both councils were now considering whether it was viable "to push the start button" on the project.

"It needs to be confirmed by both councils and hopefully we will have some framework around it by the end of this year.

"From my understanding, there is enough gas being produced there which will warrant installing one generator with the potential of a second generator late on. Under the existing proposal, it would provide enough for up to 800 households."

Mr Bradshaw said there would have to be other decisions made on the dollar value of the power generated and how it would be moved and sold to the national electricity grid.

"So there might need to be a middle-man who is currently working in the industry and there is some interest with existing power companies.

"That will come further down the line when we bring all of those parties involved together."

The councils were required to burn or flare off gas produced in the landfill and spent $1 million installing a system to do the job in 2007, with a view for it being used to transform the gas into electricity in the future.

A total of 26 wells were drilled into the Valley A landfill at Omarunui which could extract gas from a 20m radius. Other wells were drilled into Valley D and the two-pipe systems connected to a single flare. There was work currently on drilling eight new wells into Valley D.

Valley D cost $12.5 million to construct when it was opened in 2007 and with a volume of 1.75 million cu/m, was capable of taking rubbish for 12 years.

The volume of rubbish heading to the landfill had reduced from 112,000 tonnes recorded in 2007/08 to 72,000 tonnes in 2011/12, which meant Valley D's life would continue to take rubbish until 2023.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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