The city has been awarded a $747,043 grant to help pay back its investment to turn landfill gas into electricity to power the city ice rink.
The “energy-to-ice” project installed in 1998 turns methane gas into electricity in a generator behind the ice rink. The power is then used in freezers that produce ice at the rink.
William McTygue, director of public works, said the system generates enough power to fill the rink’s energy needs.
The closed landfill lies across Weibel Avenue from the ice rink, which made it an ideal spot for such a program, McTygue said.
“This is certainly great news for the city, and it’s obviously a reward for our past concern and the environmental initiative that the city made a commitment to a number of years ago when they decided to build that system,” he said.
The grant covers about half of what the city figured it spent constructing and maintaining the system, plus some upgrades it would like to do.
It is one of $7.5 million in grants the state Department of Environmental Conservation awarded to nine landfill closure and gas recovery projects across the state.
DEC created a policy in 2004 to help landfill owners recoup their costs to collect gas and reuse it. These are the first monetary awards from that policy.
McTygue said the city applied for the grant last summer. “We had our fingers crossed, but you don’t take anything for granted.”
The engine in the cogeneration system is due for an upgrade, and it will be replaced as part of an energy savings program done by Johnson Controls, McTygue said.
“The current engine is giving us trouble,” McTygue said.
Before the energy-to-ice system was implemented, the city was paying about $120,000 a year to power the ice rink.
“This is a win/win both for the city and, I would say, for the environment,” McTygue said.
McTygue said the city has received inquiries from other municipalities throughout the country after putting in the system.
“For years the city has showcased that facility,” McTygue said.
The city’s landfill on Weibel Avenue was capped in 1995. The city began operating a transfer station next to the county recycling station, where residents pay by the bag to dispose of trash. They also may contract with a private company for trash collection.
Two other Capital Region landfills also were awarded grants.
The town of Colonie will get $495,271 for its system at the landfill on New Loudon Road. The grant will pay for installing and expanding the gas flaring system and installing horizontal gas collection laterals so the landfill gas can be used to make electricity.
Rapp Road Waste Management Facility in Albany will receive $866,524 for a series of horizontal gas collection trenches and vertical collection wells connected to a system that extends around the facility.
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