Green is Garbage

06/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In recent published reports, the University of New Hampshire has found a new way to generate energy. The university's EcoLine project, four years in the making, is a gas-to-energy initiative that uses purified methane gas from a nearby landfill to power its operations. The campus, five million square feet in size, expects to garner 85 percent of its electricity and heat from purified natural gas.

The project, which was developed in partnership with Waste Management's Turnkey Recycling and Environmental Enterprise (TREE), is financing its cost of approximately $50 million through the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates generated by the landfill gas.

The landfill gases are generated more than 12 miles away and collected from over 300 extraction wells, then delivered through a pipeline constructed to bring them to the UNH campus. The university plans to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2020 and 80% by 2080.

Most landfill operators have to burn surplus gas to avoid polluting the environment with it. The ramifications of this project are far reaching in terms of giving others ideas about how to generate power by using gas that would otherwise have to be burned, and financing their projects by selling power back to the grid.

This is our garbage. What is more patriotic and clean burning than this?

Jonathan A. Schein is president/CEO of ScheinMedia and publisher of