Landfill To Use Geothermal Heat For Greenhouses

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New England Waste Services of Vermont wants to build a row of greenhouses powered by geothermal heat from decomposing waste at the state’s largest landfill. It’s part of the Phase VI expansion, according to the application for an Act 250 permit amendment filed with the District 7 Environmental Commission. NEWS-VT engineer John Gay envisions up to five greenhouses that could be built for a business partner interested in reliance on low-cost fuel source like geothermal energy. There are no tenants yet for the greenhouses, Gay said. He anticipated that the greenhouse project won’t be built for two to three years, only after the first cell in the new landfill phase is operational and begins to generate heat from waste decomposition. The landfill company is already supplying methane from the waste decomposition to Washington Electric Cooperative, which has a methane-to-electricity power plant at the landfill. The landfill company is including the plans for the greenhouses in the overall application for a Phase VI expansion at the landfill as part of advance planning, Gay said. The greenhouses would be built on the hillside to the west of Airport Road, located between the road and the cells planned for the new phase of construction. The company is successfully using this geothermal technology at its New Hampshire landfill, Gay said. The plans for Coventry is “a much larger project,” he said. Up to 900 gallons of water a day would be needed for each of the greenhouses from a water well on the former St. Onge property, 1,060 feet away from the existing Phase IV landfill cells, according to the application.