oneidadispatch.com – Traveling past the county landfill on Buyea Road this week, passersby can see a new entity beginning to take shape on the sunny hill.
Gleaming and looking like five gigantic ovens in a row, Cazenovia-based Johnson Brothers Lumber is erecting drying kilns for their lumber business which will take advantage of the harnessing of methane gas from the landfill to run the ovens.
At the end of August, all of the parts for the kiln were delivered and are now being assembled. The five insulated bays, once operational, will reach temperatures of about 180 degrees inside while drying lumber.
Each of the bays is roughly 26 feet deep, 30 feet wide and about 20 feet high. Soon, the bays will be fitted with large, “oven doors” on the front.
The facility is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Last December, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the drying kilns which would be the first business to locate at the Buyea Road site in Lincoln, and take advantage of the excess heat produced by the landfill’s Gas-to-Energy facility to dry their lumber. The facility captures methane gas from the landfill and converts it into usable heat.
Upon becoming operational in early 2009, the 20 cylinder engine powered Gas-to-Energy facility is generating 1.4 megawatts of electricity – enough to power about 1,200 homes. This facility also produces thermal energy. Three percent of this energy is currently heating three buildings at the landfill, and for the past five years saved the county approximately $70,000 in heating costs, according to Sharon Driscoll, county recycling coordinator and landfill spokesperson.
The deal with the lumber company will provide jobs for area residents and the property purchased from the county will be put back on the tax rolls, landfill officials say.
Johnson Brothers Lumber was established by brothers William and Victor Johnson in 1937. Current company president Paul D. Johnson took over the company in 1983.
“This is a win-win situation for both the lumber company and Madison County,” said county Landfill Director James Zecca.
A second phase of this project involving Johnson Brothers lumber would be to use the moist excess heat from their drying kilns to heat a greenhouse at the Buyea Road site.
For years, the county recycling center has been heated using the harnessed methane gas, and about 50 percent of its electricity has been gathered by a solar cap on the landfill.
Looking to the future, landfill staff say that there are more possibilities for gas to energy projects in the future which could provide power to buildings at the county office complex in Wampsville.