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Wednesday, 04 October 2006 00:00

Jackson Green Energy Park opens

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The Jackson County Green Energy Park will celebrate the opening of Phase 1 of the park with an open house to be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6.

 

Phase 1 includes: the creation of a methane-gas powered refinery for biodiesel; methane-powered studios and kilns for potters, blacksmiths and glassblowers; and methane-heated greenhouses for growing native plants.

The focus of the project is to improve the environment by diffusing a potentially hazardous landfill problem, provide continued education to the community about environmental issues, create a space for artists to work, and provide a gathering space for the community.

The gas recovery project is modeled after the EnergyXchange Renewable Energy Center, the first glass blowing and pottery-making operation in the world fueled by landfill gas located at the Yancey/Mitchell landfill. The community conceived the concept in response to a question of what to do with the methane generated by the landfill’s decomposing 300,000 tons of trash.

Jackson County’s old landfill near Dillsboro holds nearly 420,000 tons of trash, estimated to produce a gas flow rate of 126 cubic feet per minute or 2.9 million kilowatt hours of energy per year until 2028.

Since its closure, the old Jackson County landfill has become a burgeoning pocket of methane gas, a potentially explosive gas formed when organic materials decompose in an oxygen free environment. To prevent explosions, landfill operators must allow the gas to escape, traditionally by piping down into the trash and installing passive vents, which release the gas into the atmosphere.

However, simply allowing the gas to vent from the landfill, contributes to global warming, as methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide.

The Green Energy Park’s open house event will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be held from 3 to 5 p.m. featuring keynote speaker Larry Shirley, Director of the North Carolina State Energy Office. The ceremony is open to the public.

The community party and open house will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring live music, interactive booths by local environmental groups, self-guided tours, crafts, door prizes and food vendors.

The Green Energy Park is located at 84 Landfill Road, at the old landfill site just west of Dillsboro. For more information visit www.greenenergypark.org or call Carrie Blaskowski at 828.507.2004.

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