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Plans approved for $45m Illinois RNG facility

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Plans have been approved for a new renewable natural gas (RNG) plant in Illinois, US.

On 10 February, officials in Will County, Illinois approved the construction of a $45 million (€37 million) RNG plant at the county-owned Prairie View landfill.

The project labour agreement, signed by Will County, Harbour Contractors, Will & Grundy Counties Buildings Trade Council, and Three Rivers Construction Alliance paves the way for hiring local, skilled craftspeople to work on this major project.

“By bringing together labour and business in this way, we are taking steps to control costs, ensure quality work is being done by a local workforce and make certain the project gets done on time,” said County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

The new facility will inject biogas into a nearby RNG pipeline grid for use as a transportation fuel. The plant will not only mitigate methane emissions going into the atmosphere, but it presents an opportunity for the county to generate millions in revenue annually. As part of the agreement, the county will sell renewable compressed natural gas, a much cleaner burning fuel that can replace diesel fuel in vehicles.

Will County will produce around 7.7 million diesel gallon equivalents of renewable fuel per year, based on projections, and can reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 60,000 tonnes annually.

In 2010, the county began an agreement with Waste Management to convert a portion of the methane gas created from decomposing the landfill to power a 4.8 MW gas-to-electricity plant. The electricity is then sold on the local market to residents and businesses. Currently, the county receives $450,000 (€371,700) annually from the sale of this methane gas.

The new agreement will allow for the sale of all the methane gas. After an initial investment of an estimated $45 million (€37 million) to build the RNG plant and pipeline, the county could receive $12-20 million (€9.9-16.5 million) annually, based on market prices, in non-taxpayer revenue for more than 25 years.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the county to fully realise the economic benefits of this landfill,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “The cost for providing necessary services to our residents continues to rise and it is up to all of us as elected officials to find alternate revenue sources and not place additional burdens on our taxpayers.

“This new plant satisfies the country’s commitment to protecting our resources and maintaining the quality services our residents and business owners need and expect.”