Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Turn methane into fuel
I was watching the video of the latest Legislative Forum. I was dismayed at Rep. Mitchell’s response on the subject of Eminent Domain. According to him, your land is your land unless someone else has a better use for it. Huh.
But it was why the topic came up that grabbed my attention. Steve Hickenbottom mentioned the proposed pipelines that would transport collected CO2. The CO2 is then to be stored until it can be made into fuel. My question is why store it? Why not make the fuel now?
While I am talking about fuel, why is a potential source of fuel being wasted everyday? I’m talking about methane. The same gas responsible for the smell coming off sewer lagoons, confinement pits, dumps, any place where organic material rots. And yes, it burns.
I know there have been numerous people over the years that have seen the torch burning methane at JBS in Ottumwa.
Methane has been used as a fuel quite successfully, here and abroad. India, Africa, South and Central America all have a history of using animal dung mixed with water in a bladder to produce the methane that is then used to cook food, heat water or heat their homes.
The same uses occur in the US. The biggest differences come in the type and size of the digesters. While farmers outside the US use a more simple design, such as a bladder, those used in the US are more high tech and consequently, more expensive. This expense
plays a big part as to why they are not more common domestically. Literature I have read suggests cow herds of 300 or more are needed to break even in the gas vs cost ratio. Anything produced beyond each day’s use must be burnt off. The bladder works with as little as a handful of animals.
I haven’t been able to discover any hard numbers about how much methane can be recovered off a sewer treatment plant, nor a dump. But wouldn’t that be wonderful if Fairfield could capture and use the methane produced?
It used to be said that a packing plant used everything but the squeal. If methane was captured from not only the plants, but the confinements, that would surely be true.
Some fire station options
The attention being given Fairfield’s fire station future is good. I suggest three additional options be considered:
1) Expand the existing station. Take over the adjacent alley and waning restaurant, if available, and the county health office, which can be moved to the Briggs Avenue site. The boat and ATV can go to the out-building there, too.
The “$6 million project cost” noted in the brochure, with its 3-story corn-silo trainer, future vehicle bays, five bedrooms, a linen closet, exercise room and lockers, a day room, five offices, a multi-purpose room, etc. are wish-list items, not necessities.
I don’t hold with unnecessary spending of community funds.
2) The abandoned lot on Lowe and Fourth Street is better suited. It’s as large, in an industrial site, and a block from the train underpass. The wish-list items deleted, there’s space for future expansion, if truly necessary.
3) Just build a small supplemental substation, with future add-on potential, south of town to serve the hospital area, and with good bypass access for quick support to stations in Batavia, Birmingham, etc.
With these options, the Briggs Avenue buildings will continue to provide good use and service. And a healthy family and residential neighborhood is preserved.
Further steps in planning and implementation with this project will be well received and appreciated by all.
My thanks to Scott Vaughan, our fire volunteers and the committee planning members.
Don’t fall for these arguments
If they’re big enough and old enough to do “adult crime,” they’re old enough and big enough to do “adult time in prison.”
I reject the old arguments that “We’re supposed to excuse them because they’re teenagers,” or “their parents are divorced” or “they got bad grades in school” or “their friends got them in trouble.”
Defense lawyers usually try to twist it all around to make it sound like the “killers” or the “drivers that caused the crashes and fatalities” are the “victims,” hoping that some weak-minded wimps on the jury will buy such a lie.