Delaware company looking to landfill as power source

The “greening” of Delaware continues with a new $6 million project that will convert readily available methane produced in landfills into energy.

Croda Inc., a New Jersey-based chemical company, broke ground on its landfill-gas-to-energy project at it’s manufacturing site in New Castle, Thursday.

“It won’t take care of all of our energy needs, but it’s expected to take care of more than half of the energy needs here at the site,” said Croda president Kevin Gallagher.

Typically, landfills burn off the greenhouse gas to keep it from harming the environment, but Croda, with New Jersey-based partner Cummins Power Generation, will build a pipeline from the nearby Cherry Island landfill that will transport that methane to Croda, creating a renewable energy supply expected to power 55 percent of the plant’s operations.

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“It fits with our overall goal in helping us to source energy from non-fossil sources and to helping this to be more of a sustainable footprint,” Gallagher said, whose company, on a global scale, has committed to obtain 25 percent of its energy needs from non-fossil sources by 2015.

Gallagher says the move is also cost effective for the 130-acre facility, with payback from the investment to be somewhere in the neighborhood of five or six years.

“There’s a few projects like this that are like municipal landfills, but this is the first private sector one I’ve become aware of and it really is an innovative project… I’m hoping that other businesses will follow suit,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. 

Croda is investing $5.5 million into the project and it received a $500,000 grant from the state’s Energy Efficiency Investment Fund – a program that provides funding for projects that improve air quality and reduce energy use.

“All the better that this is a good investment for Croda, it’s gonna create some construction jobs, it’s going to make their business more successful, bring down the cost of energy, which will make them more successful, great for people’s health, it really is a win across the board,” said Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del.

The project is expected to be fully operational by the fall. 

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