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Staff file photo
Excavators move trash and earth in Four Hills Landfill, on Aug. 18, 2011, to create trenches for the installation of gas collection devices. The gases collected are converted to electricity and then sold back to the grid. The expansion marks the landfill's third and estimates project that the hill shown has approximately 12-15 years left to its lifespan.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nashua to get more electricity from the rotting stuff in its landfill

Decomposing landfills release methane. Methane can be burned for useful purposes, such as to generate heat or spin a turbine to make electricity. So generating heat and power from landfill gas seems an obvious thing to do, as long as you've got a big enough landfill to recoup the (non-trivial) expense of bulding the power plant.

UNH has done this for five years, piping in gas from the massive Waste Management landfill in Rochester to heat much of the Durham campus and generate its power (details here). There's also an 800-kilowatt power plant at a landfill in Colebrook (here).

Nashua's Four Hills Landfill is also getting into the act, as The Telegraph reported today. They already generate some power from the methane, and now PPL Corp., which runs the Colebrook facility, is bidding to upgrade this with a 1,600-kilowatt system - enough for roughly 350 homes' worth of power, depending on how you measure it.

I would say "win-win" except I hate that ^%$#@! cliche.