published Thursday, August 5th, 2010

VW eyes recycled methane

Audio clip

Jerry Stewart

Volkswagen and the city are trying to hammer out an innovative green plan in which the automaker would use methane gas from the Summit landfill to produce electricity for its plant.

“This is unique,” said Jerry Stewart, director of waste resources for the city.

The methane, naturally occurring at the closed landfill, would be mined, fed to generators at the Summit site, turned into electricity and transmitted to the plant, Stewart said.

Danna Bailey, EPB’s vice president of corporate communications, said VW has asked about a transmission line from the landfill to the plant.

“We’re wide open to it,” she said, adding the talks are in early stages.

The landfill is a few miles from the Enterprise South industrial park factory.

For VW, the initiative will not only permit it to use a renewable energy to help power a portion of the assembly plant, but it also will earn the car maker points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design status.

The site would be the South’s first auto assembly plant and only the second nationally to gain the LEED badge, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

“LEED is green, and green is part of our image,” said Dieter Schleifer, manager of plant infrastructure for VW’s Chattanooga operations.

Steve Leach, the city’s public works administrator, said the project would put to good use take a resource nobody wants. Currently, the methane gas is flared off, Leach said.

“I hope it all works out,” he said.

Stewart said the expectation is that 1 to 2 megawatts could be produced daily. That’s enough to power an estimated 150 to 200 houses for an hour.

Stewart said he’s hopeful a deal can be structured and the project started by the end of the year. VW is to start making cars early next year. Stewart said VW and the city are working out details.

He said the city had a deal with another party to produce electricity from the gas and put it back onto the grid, but that didn’t work out.

The landfill was closed in March 1999. The city has a 30-year obligation to keep it up, Stewart said.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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thegreenmarket said...

Although Volkswagen is making valiant strides to lead the movement towards greener cars, some of the companies other brands are the opposite of eco-friendly. Please see Volkswagen's Dirty Automotive Secrets

August 5, 2010 at 8:05 a.m.
Salsa said...

They should be able to find all of the methane they need down at city hall. There sure is a stink coming from that building.

August 5, 2010 at 11:34 a.m.
GeorgiaRebel said...

Does this means that the VW cafeteria will be serving free beans to all employees

August 5, 2010 at 3:43 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Why not just turn Hamilton County over to Volkswagen?

When Germany invaded countries in Europe, e.g., France, Belgium, Norway, they installed puppet governments.

Now Volkswagen speaks and politicians dance them a jig like Hitler accepting the French surrender.

When will our own Hamilton County Marshal Petains receive their Iron Cross? Make that a Gold Cross bought with taxpayer money?

August 5, 2010 at 10:09 p.m.
lonerstoner said...

I agree with harrystatel Hopfully they have the decency to use vasoline and not leave any evidence . Chattanooga , Im telling you is going to be at Germanys mercy ( O- we already are )the government is so woried about the wetbacks , arent germans over here without working visas breaking our laws?

August 6, 2010 at 6:18 a.m.
captainrt said...

I'm still wondering if anyone ever clued them in to the fact they built that plant on a site formerly used to make the bombs that fell on them like rain in WWII. Kind of like Japan building a tanning salon mall in Oak Ridge.

August 6, 2010 at 7 a.m.
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