Waste heat from biogas system to heat C&D facility in Wisconsin

By Katie Fletcher | August 13, 2015

Since ground break in late June, progress has been made on a construction and demolition (C&D) recycling facility addition to the Dane County, Wisconsin, landfill site. The foundation is in place, the walls are going up and the equipment is ordered.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the project is on track, on time and under budget, so everyone is very pleased. “We have the equipment ordered, and they’re beginning to fabricate that so we’re on time and on schedule and we’re looking forward to being able to get started.”

Parisi added that at the landfill, “We are always looking for ways to conserve the environment and look at recycling renewable energy, lessening our impact on the environment while at the same time being good stewards of tax dollars.”

Finding available landfill space is a challenge, and in Dane County they hope to conserve as much landfill space as possible. Around 25 percent of the waste stream at the landfill is C&D material. A few years ago, the landfill started recovering the C&D waste, but since then has been trucking eight semi loads of the waste each day a few hours away to a recycling plant in Appleton, Wisconsin. Upon the completion of this expansion project, all of the recycling will now take place at the county landfill site, reducing truck traffic and lowering emission by 550 tons per year. “When we looked at the economics and the environmental impact of being able to do this on site it made a lot of sense,” Parisi said. “The economics will work better as far as tipping fees, and we’ll still be able to achieve that savings of landfill space that is so precious.”

Upon the implementation of the $5.2 million C&D recycling facility, it is estimated the landfill’s life will be extended five to seven years, and save the county over $600,000 per year.

Initially, the facility will process approximately 40,000 tons of C&D material per year. Right now, the plan is to grow this amount in the future from anywhere between 75,000 to 100,000 tons annually. The facility will achieve a 70 percent recycling rate for all of the material it receives.

The project is an innovation public-private partnership. The county will own the facility, and a private contractor will operate it and market the recycled products.

According to Parisi, the facility itself is 29,000 square feet. An additional 8,000 square feet in space is being added to recycle on site. The building has green features including LED lighting, daylighting and the pavement being poured will be pervious to allow for water to seep through and not run off. “Perhaps what’s most exciting is we’re using waste heat from another environmentally, economically sustainable project we had on the site to heat the building,” Parisi said. “The heat is coming from engines that we have to generate electricity currently with biogas that we pump from the landfill itself.”

Parisi added that in addition to the new facility, two other county buildings going up across the road will receive waste heat from the Caterpillar generators. The engines produce renewable electricity for 4,000 homes.

The facility is expected to be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2016, creating 19 new permanent jobs on day one, with the potential to grow to 38 jobs as the operation expands.

“We’re showing with this project, once again, that it is possible to both save money for the tax payers and lessen your impact on the environment—it doesn’t have to be a choice, you can do both,” Parisi said. “I’d encourage people to look at their landfill as a resource. There is a lot they can do to lessen their footprint on the environment and save their taxpayers dollars.”