Fuel Management

Naperville Opens Facility That Converts Yard Waste to Fleet Fuel

November 28, 2011

The City of Naperville's new gasifier Green Fuels Depot facility.
The City of Naperville's new gasifier Green Fuels Depot facility.

NAPERVILLE, IL – The City of Naperville, Ill. opened its new “Green Fuels Depot” gasifier facility, which will provide three fuels: electricity, hydrogen, and ethanol, for the City’s fleet and other municipal uses.

The new facility is located at the City’s Springbrook Waste Facility and will convert City wood chips from yard waste into those two fuels and electricity. According to the City, the facility can supply electricity it generates to the City-owned utility’s power grid, and ethanol produced can help operate Naperville’s flex-fuel fleet vehicles.
The facility is part of the Green Fuels Depot project, which involved cooperation with Congresswoman Judy Biggert (IL 13th), the U.S. Department of Energy, Packer Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory, and the Naperville Development Partnership to bring it online. Funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Energy through a Congressionally Directed Project at the request of U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert. Packer Engineering and the City of Naperville are also providing non-cash contributions to the project, including temporary use of land and buildings plus time and labor from salaried employees.

The facility itself can process wood chips at a rate of one ton per day, and can produce enough electricity to power about 12-15 suburban homes, according to the City. The facility can process organic material with high cellulose content, so the City can use yard waste other than wood chips but is using them for this demonstration project.

The prototype device consists of several modules, which are all installed out-of-doors. The largest module at the facility is a thermochemical conversion reactor. The reactor sits on an 8 foot by 10 foot skid and is about 8 feet tall. An enclosed generator set, and the switchgear for grid interconnect, are about 3 feet by 4 feet in size, and sit nearby.

Benefits will come from reduced fuel costs, reduced costs from not needing to remove the yard waste, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The City said residents should expect little or no odor from the Green Fuels Depot, and only steam visible on cold days. In terms of emissions, the system releases water vapor and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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