Fueling Dubuque-An Alternative Gas Resource

Dubuque, IA – The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA) recently proposed a new method to fight greenhouse gas emissions in the Dubuque area.

The agency is looking to use waste gases from garbage (such as methane) to power transportation.

Administrator John Foster explained to LCTV that using methane as a fuel source will help reduce Dubuque’s carbon footprint. He said, “If we can clean up the gas, and turn it into a transportation fuel, now we’re deferring greenhouse gas emissions that are coming out of the tailpipe of a vehicle, and instead were emitting it as a vehicle fuel, instead of just as a wasted energy fuel…”

The landfill already has a methane collection and burning system in place; they are now looking for a way to convert the gas into a transportation fuel so that it will not go to waste. When asked if burning the methane would only contribute to emissions, Foster stated that methane is twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide. So burning methane reduces it to carbon dioxide, and in turn there is less gas going into the atmosphere. With the current setup, he said that approximately 50,000 tons of gas are prevented from entering the atmosphere.

If they find a new and successful system, the Dubuque landfill will be the first of its kind in Iowa to use the gas for transportation. According to Foster, there are five other landfills in Iowa that are using gases for different forms of energy needs.

Currently, the agency is taking bids from companies that could help with the gas-to-fuel conversions. They plan to make a decision by June or July this summer, and hope to have a system in place by 2019.

For the complete LCTV story, you may visit the LCTV YouTube page. For more information on the DMASWA and the project, please see the official website.

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Levi Bernhard is currently a senior student at Loras College. He originally hails from St. Benedict, a small town near Algona, Iowa. Levi is a reporter and crew member for LCTV News, and helps contribute stories to productions. A couple years ago, he worked as an intern at Kossuth Regional Health Center, recording and editing videos. This past January, he went on a travel January Term course to Greece, where he helped create a couple of short documentaries about the country. He enjoys being in media studies because he likes the concepts of telling stories to wide audiences, and working with a variety of technology. He is also in media studies because he has a dream of becoming a filmmaker.

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