Community colleges in Virginia intend on tapping into the methane created by landfills so that they can have a future in sustainable energy.

Currently, Emory and Henry College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College and Sweet Briar College are all looking into gaining their energy from the local landfills. They have teamed with Collegiate Clean Energy to make it happen.

Collegiate Clean Energy collects the methane from the landfills, turns it into electricity and then sells it back to utility companies. This will make it a rather simple switch for the colleges. It will basically come down to switching their utility companies which will only take about two months for them to do.

The contract for the colleges will be a 12 year agreement, but will save them anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000 throughout the term of the deal. It will also cut the colleges’ carbon footprint from electricity in half. Landfills naturally create methane gas, which is a burden for the landfills and becomes costly to manage. Therefore, the colleges will also be aiding in reducing the methane coming out of the landfills.

Collegiate Clean Energy is currently working with a landfill in Bristol, VA. They want to begin extracting the site’s methane gas and cleaning it. They will then run it through a generator which will turn it into electricity. They have to get all of this set up and working at the Bristol landfill before they can begin the process of providing sustainable energy to the colleges. However, the energy won’t come straight from Bristol but from a large pool of energy that is collected from all over the state.