Sept. 17, 2008

A public-private project in Caldwell County may use greenhouse gas to power a research greenhouse. The initiative, approved in concept by county commissioners, would mark the first time Google has co-developed such a project in the United States from the very inception, working through every step of the process.

Spearheaded by county officials, the proposed project would capture methane gas - one of the most potent forms of greenhouse gas emissions - at the Mount Herman landfill. Google, a champion of renewable energy, and Greenhouse Gas Services LLC (GHGS) would use the capture to generate greenhouse gas (GHG) credits. The credits would help to fund the development of a new research greenhouse at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI).

Areas of study involving the greenhouse would include new horticulture technologies, tissue culture propagation and an expansion of the horticulture curriculum. Caldwell is one of the state's top three counties in nursery agricultural production. Officials expect that the N.C. Agriculture Extension Service, which assists the nursery industry, would also benefit from the greenhouse.

The Greenhouse to Greenhouse project would follow a series of steps:

  • As part of the first emission reduction co-development project in the U.S., GHGS would invest, design, build and operate the facility to capture landfill gas for more than 120,000 CO2 equivalent tons over ten years.
  • GHGS would then retire the credits on behalf of Google, which plans to add these offsets to its carbon portfolio and advance the goal of company wide carbon neutrality.
  • The captured methane gas would be flared -- destroying the greenhouse gas before it enters the atmosphere -- or converted as a power source for the new greenhouse.

Stay tuned for more developments. And thank you to all the great folks involved in this project!

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