Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/6/2011 (2147 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
AFTER nine years of delays, the province and city will finally capture and burn the greenhouse gases caused by rotting garbage at Winnipeg's dump.
The move, announced Thursday at the Brady Road Landfill, is part of Manitoba's bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Burning the methane produced by decomposing waste will have the same environmental benefit as taking 19,000 cars off the road.
But the province and city won't do what they originally promised: use the gas to create electricity or heat. Methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than its better-known cousin, carbon dioxide. But burning methane converts it to CO2, which is then released into the atmosphere.
Premier Greg Selinger, whose NDP government put up $2.55 million to fund the city's project, said it's still a good start.
"We'd all like to move beyond flaring," said Selinger. "We had to make this move now because it allows us to reduce methane very significantly."
Selinger said the business case for turning methane into power has been elusive, partly because Manitoba Hydro is loath to buy power that's more expensive than the electricity it already produces. But he said converting methane to power is still an option down the road.
The provincial cash will be used to build a series of 80 wells to capture methane deep under the ground, pipe it to a central station and flare it off. Construction is expected to begin this fall, but a contract with an unnamed builder still needs to be finalized even though the project was tendered two years ago.
The Brady Road Landfill is one of the province's biggest greenhouse gas emitters -- "a living, breathing machine" that gives off all types of gases, said Coun. Justin Swandel, who was on hand for Thursday's announcement.
Brady Road is also one of the last remaining major dumps in Canada without a methane-capture program. The plan to capture methane has been in the works since the fall of 2002, when the city, the province and Manitoba Hydro announced a feasibility study. At one point, the plan was to use the gas to heat the University of Manitoba, but that idea fizzled.