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Friday, June 01, 2007

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The Coffin Butte Resource Project, a power plant that turns methane gas into electricity, will be able to stretch out a bit when its $5 million expansion opens in October. The project, owned by Power Resources Cooperative, currently produces about 2.46 megawatts of power. After the 4,800- square-foot expansion opens, production should double. The plant opened in 1995 after Valley Landfills approached Power Resources about using methane gas from the Coffin Butte landfill. Until that point, the methane, a natural byproduct of landfills, was burned in flares, effectively wasting an energy source, explains Steve King, generator resources manager for Portland-based PNGC Power, the company contracted by Power Resources to operate and maintain the plant. “There’s more gas collected than can be used,” he says. Three new Caterpillar gas engines/generators should help lighten that load very soon.

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