Potentially pays for itself in less than six years
FORT BENNING, Ga. — Army, government and private industry leaders came together last week to celebrate the startup of a system at Fort Benning’s landfill designed to capture methane and convert it to electricity.
FlexEnergy Inc. has successfully installed its first commercial order of the Flex Powerstation FP250 on Harmony Church. Officials said the Southern Research Institute selected the company’s “breakthrough technology” for setup on post under a demonstration program funded by the Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, which seeks innovative and cost-effective methods to address environmental and energy priorities.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting took place Nov. 8 at the site.
“It’s an opportunity for us to promote and develop clean, renewable energy,” said Col. Jeffrey Fletcher, the garrison commander. “This collaboration … represents a very important step and promises a more sustainable energy future. It shows Fort Benning has a true commitment and pledge toward environmental stewardship.”
The power station will turn venting gas from the landfill into enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 250 homes a year, said Stephen Johnson, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George W. Bush, who’s now a FlexEnergy investor and sits on its board of directors. The project’s price tag was about $1 million.
“Yes, I am excited to be on a landfill demonstrating a fantastic technology. We are witnessing sustainability in action,” he told the audience. “We’re taking waste gas and converting it into energy and electricity with virtually zero emissions from harmful greenhouse gases. It’s exciting. We’re helping to deliver environmental protection, energy and national security, and economic prosperity.”
In the past year, FlexEnergy has created more than 100 new American jobs, according to a news release issued by the company, which is based in Irvine, Calif. The system architecture and proprietary solutions allow the Flex Powerstation to use all sources of methane gas, even low-quality varieties from closed landfills.
The plant could be refined to a “pollution control device” that potentially pays for itself in less than six years, Johnson said. By comparison, the payback on an average windmill takes as long as three decades.
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