DECATUR, Ga. -- Taking a major step in the departure from dependence upon diesel fuel, DeKalb County, Ga., sanitation trucks will begin the switch over to Compressed Natural Gas, and the source of the fuel will be the landfill that is the destination point for the trucks and their cargo. In a very literal sense, DeKalb County sanitation vehicles will be powered by the trash that they are hauling.
DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis conducted a ceremonial kick-off event for the new CNG fuel pumps at the Seminole Road Landfill. The CNG Fuel from the pumps comes straight from DeKalb’s Renewable Energy Facility, which began operations earlier this year.
The DeKalb County Renewable Energy Facility is a first in the nation, as it simultaneously converts landfill gas to produce both Compressed Natural Gas for vehicles and Renewable Natural Gas for high-BTU gas for pipeline injection. The facility has the capacity to process more landfill gas than any other county in Georgia. It will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17,000 tons, or what goes into the atmosphere from 17 million gallons of gasoline. Furthermore, the landfill is also the only one in North America to produce both electricity and RNG from landfill emissions.
To capitalize on the fuel savings, DeKalb County is starting with its own fleet. The first vehicles to be powered by CNG will be the ones that deliver the garbage to the landfill in the first place, the garbage trucks. DeKalb County Sanitation Department is presently converting 70 vehicles from diesel fuel to CNG. As diesel is currently selling for more than $4 a gallon, DeKalb County is forecasting fuel savings of $3 million over the next 8 years. The county’s goal is to eventually replace or adapt its entire fleet of 306 sanitation vehicles with natural gas vehicles over the same time period.
“We are turning ‘Trash into Gas’ and ‘Gas to Cash’, thus saving $3 million by using it in DeKalb County vehicles,” said DeKalb County CEO Ellis. “We are, in fact, living up to our vision of being the Greenest Urban County in America and the place where your future lives.”
“The current price for CNG is almost half the amount of diesel fuel. Of course, we can make it for even less right here at the Seminole landfill,” said Billy Malone, Assistant Director of Public Works/Sanitation Division.
The plant was constructed by ESG, one of the nation’s premiere energy performance contractors. It was funded as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus funds through the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE awarded a grant to the Clean Cities Atlanta Petroleum Reduction Program of which DeKalb County received $7.8 million for this project. The adjacent CNG Fuel Station was constructed by Winter Environmental at a cost of $2 million.
SOURCE: Dekalb County, Ga.