The city of Riverview's landfill is becoming an attractive source of fuel for city vehicles.
The landfill, often referred to as Mount Trashmore, produces up to 2,500 cubic feet of methane gas every minute. Much of that gas is burned off, but Riverview has invested $1.7 million on a conversion facility that turns the methane into compressed natural gas. Vehicles that are powered by natural gas produce 90 percent less greenhouse gasses than gasoline powered vehicles.
Bob Bobeck is Riverview's solid waste director said the conversion facility is now capable of producing more more fuel than the city currently needs.
"We produce natural gas equivalent of 550 gallons of gasoline a day," Bobeck said.
That amount of compressed natural gas is worth $2,000 a day at current prices, or $700,000 per year.
The city of Riverview has two natural gas vehicles in its fleet now, but plans to expand.
Riverview City Manager Douglas Drysdale said the city is ready to sell the natural gas it doesn't use.
"We hope to have most vehicles burning natural gas, including our heavy equipment. It should save a few hundred thousand a year, and we intend to get other cities and school districts involved," Drysdale said.
Any government unit that has a landfill or sewage treatment plant can convert methane into compressed natural gas, but Riverview is only the third in the nation to do it, because of the high cost of the initial investment.
Riverview expects to get its investment back in five to seven years.