BOONE, N.C. — Stan Steury, program manager of the Appalachian Energy Center (AEC) at Appalachian State University, and Jason Hoyle, research analyst for the AEC, received $20,154 in funding from the Eastern Research Group (ERG) Inc. for conducting research into and documenting innovative international biogas projects with exceptional social benefits.
According to Steury, the Appalachian Energy Center has been contracted by the Environmental Research Group to promote the concept of community-based landfill gas projects worldwide for the benefit of communities near landfills through the Global Methane Initiative (GMI).
He said the center has used this community-based approach in working with landfills in North Carolina and several other states. One such project, the EnergyXchange Renewable Energy Center located at the Yancey/Mitchell County Landfill in Burnsville, enables artists to use methane gas from the closed landfill for pottery kilns and glass blowing. The project, which Steury helped develop, includes four greenhouses, a retail craft gallery, clay and glass studios and a visitor center.
“The Energy Center believes that there is great potential to use landfill gas being generated by decomposing garbage in landfills to fuel value-added processing of recyclables gleaned from the waste stream by waste pickers who are present in countries worldwide, which will assist these vulnerable people in raising their standard of living,” Steury said.
He noted, as part of the current contract with ERG, the Energy Center will identify and document existing community-based landfill gas projects worldwide.
“Under direction from EPA and ERG, the Energy Center will also provide technical assistance for a previously planned, innovative, community-based landfill gas project in Maracanaú, in Ceará, Brazil,” said Steury.
“This project was previously funded by two Global Methane Initiative cooperative agreements through which the Energy Center worked with municipalities in Brazil to support the development of a community-based landfill gas project, which benefited local waste pickers at the landfill, as well as the community in which they reside. The project has been sidelined recently by the current economic and political crisis in Brazil.”
In his commentary on goals for the project, Steury said the partnership between the ERG and the AEC aims to fine-tune and promote the community-based landfill gas model with GMI partners; identify several other landfills with high potential for community-based landfill gas projects in GMI partner countries where Appalachian’s Office of International Education and Development has strong interest; and work to implement one of these projects as a pilot.
About the Eastern Research Group
Founded in 1984, the Eastern Research Group (ERG) helps clients protect the environment, improve worker health and safety, ensure the safety of food and drugs, plan sustainable facilities and achieve other positive outcomes. ERG’s services include/ range from air quality services, drinking water protection, facilities planning and engineering, strategic communications, ecological services and digital and information solutions, among others.
About the Appalachian Energy Center
The Appalachian Energy Center (AEC) at Appalachian State University conducts energy research and applied program activities in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, forecasting and modeling, economic development and policy analysis in a multidisciplinary environment that leverages the expertise of faculty, staff and students from across the university as a resource for private industry, local, state and federal governments, as well as nonprofits. Through its outreach programs and research, the Appalachian Energy Center benefits communities and citizens across the state by helping create new jobs, businesses and increased investment and income. Learn more at https://energy.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.