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Columbia to receive $1 million in energy grant money

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | 11:12 a.m. CDT; updated 6:51 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 17, 2010

COLUMBIA—Columbia will receive $1 million for a cheaper, environmentally friendly energy source.

Stimulus funds were used to establish the Energize Missouri Communities grant program, and Columbia will receive the money as part of that program.

Steve Hunt, Columbia's manager of environmental services, said the money will go toward capturing the heat emitted by the engine generator, which generates electricity at the city's landfill and using it as an energy source to heat the offices at the landfill.

"The essence of the landfill portion of this project is that we have a heat source that's not being utilized," Hunt said.

The other part of the grant will be used to help pay for two larger generators to replace the one smaller generator at the city's wastewater plant, Hunt said.

He said the small generator runs on methane gas, a greenhouse gas, but it does not use all the methane that is produced. The two new generators will burn all the methane the plant produces, so the city does not have to release the extra gas into the atmosphere.

"The underlying point of this is that it's saving us money," Hunt said. "The more (electricity) we produce from the generators, the less we have to buy."

Of the $43,779,300 received by the state of Missouri, $12.5 million will be awarded by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to cities and counties, according to its Web site. The department awards grants to projects that:

  • Reduce fossil fuel emissions.
  • Reduce total energy use.
  • Improve energy efficiency.
  • Create and save jobs.

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