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Compressed natural gas effort gets rolling in Dane County

By Darryl Enriquez

Dane County is $250,000 short of the money needed for a planned $740,000 effort to build a compressed natural gas fueling station, buy more than a half-dozen vehicles that run on the fuel and convert methane gas from the county’s landfill to run those vehicles, officials said.

County officials plan to spend $370,000 in federal stimulus money and $120,000 in county matching money to build the fueling station at the County Parks offices and buy the vehicles, County Executive Kathleen Falk said. Officials want the fueling station operating and vehicles bought by the end of 2011, she said.

Joshua Westcott, a spokesman for Falk, said requests for project bids likely would be sought within several weeks.

But the county needs $250,000 to set up conversion of methane from the Dane County Landfill into CNG to operate the county’s nongasoline vehicles. Officials said CNG to fuel vehicles costs the equivalent of 85 cents a gallon. Each CNG vehicle will save the county an estimated $1,500 in fuel costs each year, Falk said.

County officials have been in discussions with private groups about financing the remaining $250,000, said Michael DiMaggio, Dane County solid waste manager.

Because the talks are ongoing, DiMaggio refused to name potential sources. He said the financing would not come from local taxes.

The county converts landfill methane, formed as buried organic substances decompose, into electricity and sells it to Madison Gas and Electric Co., earning $3 million annually, according to county records.

Falk said the plan to convert methane into CNG for the vehicles would not reduce the county’s revenue from utility sales.

DiMaggio said the goal is to generate about 100 gallons of CNG a day, enough to fuel the nongasoline portion of the county fleet.

One comment

  1. Why waste the money on the cng project when they could convert to electric vehicles cheaper and get the electricity for free (what they are already earning $3 million per year generating)???? This avenue they’re considering is a dead end.

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