From garbage to gas

County looks at selling biogas produced by landfill


Baldwin County could be turning garbage into cash, as several businesses are seeking to partner with the county to use the gas created by the county’s landfill.

Solid Waste Director Terri Graham told the commissioners she had several conversations with companies who were interested in purchasing the landfill gas.

Biogas is created by the landfill as organic waste decomposes. The county currently controls the gas emissions by flaring it off.

“I’d like to see if we can get some scopes of work from some engineering firms to see if this is something we might be interested in,” Graham said.

Graham said the companies looking to partner with the county have varied potential uses for the gas, including creating jet fuel, biodiesel and potentially helping to power an industrial plant.

The commissioners seemed interested in the potential for a partnership.

“We’ve been trying to do something with that gas a long time,” Commission Chairman Frank Burt said.

Commissioner Skip Gruber agreed.

“If there’s any way we can utilize it, it would be a good resource,” Gruber said. “There’s plenty of it.”

Commissioner Tucker Dorsey had several questions about how the county would work with a potential partner to monetize the gas and what, if any, improvements or accommodations the county would have to make at the landfill or nearby sites.

Graham said she was not at the stage yet to be able to answer all of the questions, but wanted the commission’s approval to create a request for proposals to do more research on possible uses.

Graham said she did not want to guarantee a set amount of gas per month to the companies as the amount fluctuates, though she added the volume of gas was likely due to increase in the coming year.

“We’re looking at about a possible $10,000 to $12,000 a month in revenue with the existing volumes,” Graham said. “And that would likely increase next year.”

The commissioners asked Graham to move forward with the project.