One city’s decaying trash can be a university’s energy – or something like that.
The University of Iowa will use methane from Iowa City’s landfill to power its research campus – a project that will generate revenue for the city and limit emissions of a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
The city will pump methane, a gas created as garbage decays, through a pipeline to the UI Research Park, previously known as Oakdale Research Park. The UI, which will pay the city for the gas, will use it to supply electricity and heat to the campus.
The goal is to have the system operational one year from now.
The benefits of the project are many, local officials and national experts said. The city gets money for something it would otherwise burn off, the money spent by the UI stays local and the landfill gas offsets usage of fossil fuels, like natural gas.