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Home » Green technology

Methane gas provides fuel for hospital heating in Nelson

Submitted by on March 18, 2012 – 9:51 pm

Russell McGuigan (foreground) and Al Wilke of Waste Action Limited explaining the domestic size biodigester. Also with Katerina Seligman.

By The Renewables

Methane biogas from the York Valley landfill in Bishopdale, Nelson, New Zealand is providing the Nelson hospital with a huge reduction in use of coal in it’s boilers. The landfill waste which comes from domestic and industrial sources, produces methane gas which is captured and piped 2km to the hospital.

The 2.0 MegaWatt boiler there produces over 60% of the hospitals thermal energy demand for heating, hot water and steam. The biodigester system which captures this gas is a partnership between the Nelson City Council, Nelson Hospital and Energy For Industry who installed and continues to run the system.

Energy For Industry is a subsidiary of state owned enterprise Meridian Energy. Fifteen people braved moist weather conditions on Sunday to look at the landfill site and methane production at York Valley Landfill.

The tour was organized by a group of Motueka residents known as The Renewables, a group working to highlight the importance of renewable energy initiatives rather than new fossil fuel extraction.

Group member Katerina Seligman explains:

“The use of natural gas at the Nelson hospital lowers the need for the extraction of coal. We don’t need foreign companies digging up the wilderness on the Denniston Plateau, or mining for lignite in Southland.

We could just use the energy that’s being generated in our landfills and going to waste. Imagine what it could do for the climate if we saw more hospitals, schools and our public transport systems converting to biogas as a form of energy. ”

After the tour of the York Valley site, folks went on to the Nelson Environment Centre to cook lunch
on the domestic size biodigester there. Bill Rucks, Russell McGuigan and Al Wilke are taking the
biodigestion method to homeowners, through a local company called Waste Action Limited.

Russell explained “energy can be tapped from what most people are calling waste.” By installing a simple low cost structure and feeding it household waste, people can fuel their own homes with natural gas produced on site. Local resident Helen Tulett said”

“I’m really keen to get a biodigester installed. It’s great to think I can recycle all my green waste and get 3hours of gas for cooking to use a day. And the only by-product is compost for my garden. I’m worried about the government selling off our energy companies. I’ll have better control of my energy costs with my own biodigester” she said.

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