Capturing methane from coal and turning it into electricity is a fairly common practice in Europe and China. There is currently one such facility in the United States, but the twist is that it is being run by a ski resort in Colorado. CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports from Aspen.
Aspen in Colorado is one of the most famous resort towns in the world. Known for its skiing, its spectacular scenery, and for the more fortunate, its luxurious lifestyle. Hence Aspen’s motto: Defy Ordinary.
This explains why a particular ski resort in Aspen is working to address the challenges of global warming in a unique way — capturing waste methane from a coal mine and converting it into electricity.
Several truck generators capture leaking methane at Elk Creek coal mine, an abandoned mine in nearby Somerset, and run it through a generator to generate electricity.
It is estimated that this project has eliminated three times the carbon pollution created by the ski resort each year.
The plant’s three megawatts of baseload produces 24 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which goes into the local utility’s grid, reducing the carbon footprint of the entire region and Aspen Skiing Company, the company that runs the project, claims it made back more than half of its $.5. million investment
“It’s really a story of hope,” said Matthew Hamilton, the Sustainability Director for Aspen Skiing Co. “It’s really a metaphor for what’s possible when American business starts to think about the bottom line and the long-term bottom line for a community and our country.”
The town of Aspen and its ski company have been leaders in the fight against climate change and have been using solar panels around the ski areas, but this methane plant is a little unusual. However, Aspen Skiing Co. Senior Vice President of Sustainability believes that there should be 150 of such projects in the United States particularly since methane is a potent greenhouse gas.