The regional district is putting out a call for those with ideas for making use of the gas emitted from a local dump.
At their last meeting, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George directors approved entering into the expression of interest process to develop a beneficial use of landfill gas at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill.
"The reason we're doing an expression of interest is we just want to put it out there, see what people may be able to bring to the table," said regional district chief administrative officer Jim Martin. "Are there new and innovative things on the horizon?"
The regional district underwent a feasibility study in 2008 to look at using the gas - which largely consists of methane and carbon dioxide - for greenhouse operations for the production of vegetables and seedlings onsite.
In the late 1990s, Martin said there were a variety of other energy ideas proposed for the gas.
"Using internal combustion reciprocating engines to create electricity, using micro turbine engine technology to create electricity. We were looking at technology that might be used to treat leachate from the landfill through a combustion process. We looked at possibly cleaning up the gas and putting it in the natural gas pipeline network for consumption in businesses and homes," he said, noting compressed and liquified natural gas options were also on the list. "So those are the kinds of things that might be on the horizon and who knows what else might be out there."
The regional district has been collecting landfill gas since 2002, using a system of 16 wells drilled into the landfill with each of the wells connecting to a pipeline system moving the gas to an enclosed combustion tower.
Through this combustion, the methane component of the gas is converted to carbon dioxide, which reduces its intensity as a greenhouse gas. The regional district has partnered with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities-owned Green Municipal Corporation to trade carbon offsets from the Foothills site.
That carbon emission trade deal would not be affected by any ideas to create energy from the gas, Martin said.
"We needed to get [the deal with FCM] settled before we could go out and into this process because we want to be very clear with those that might want to participate that where the restrictions are in the process," he added. "Because sometimes people using landfill gas might be looking at the carbon trading as well as the energy value of the gas."
If the expression of interest process yields some results, those will be presented to the board of directors next spring before moving on to a request for proposal process.