Fuel Management

Yard Waste to Fuel Naperville Fleet

June 01, 2009

NAPERVILLE, IL – Naperville fleet vehicles may soon run on residents' yard clippings under a plan to produce renewable energy, according to the Chicago Tribune.

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert has requested a $4 million earmark from the U.S. Department of Energy to pay for a "green fuels depot" in Naperville that would use biomass to make electricity, hydrogen, and ethanol, said the Tribune.

Naperville already has a waste hauling contractor who picks up residents' yard clippings and takes them to a composting facility, public works director Dave Van Vooren said. City officials said the depot, which would use about 3 percent of those clippings to produce energy, would be a partnership between the City of Naperville, Packer Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory, and the College of DuPage, according to the Tribune.

Packer Engineering would provide a gasifier the company has developed that converts yard waste into syngas to power plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles or be fermented into ethanol and blended with gasoline.

College of DuPage students would receive course credit for working at the depot, and Argonne would provide plug-in hybrid vehicles to test the depot.

If successful, Packer Engineering hopes to sell its gasifier to municipalities and farmers who could generate heat and electricity on their farms from non-food crop waste like corn cobs and stalks.

Initially, the depot would be used mostly to generate electricity to fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles or supplement the city's municipal electric system. The depot would not produce hydrogen for a while since automakers have not begun manufacturing hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, reported the Tribune.


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