Surry County Hosts Ribbon Cutting for Landfill Gas to Energy Project

Surry County hosted a ribbon cutting for the landfill gas to energy project developed by Petra Engineering.

On November 8, 2013 Surry County Landfill hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for their "Gas to Energy" project at the landfill. The project is the first public-private partnership of its' kind in the area and underscores Surry County's commitment to the environment and support for renewable forms of energy.


Landfill gas is a naturally occurring byproduct of the waste decomposition process and about 50 percent methane, a potent greenhouse gas. When not collected and converted to energy, the gas is released into the air.

Barnabas Investment Group and Petra Engineering worked with Dennis Bledsoe, Public Works Director, along with the County Commissioners to develop the project. The county had been considering the possibility of the gas-to-energy project for several years while working with CHA Consultants Inc. to determine the feasibility of such a project at the county landfill. The county receives revenue from the project without having incurring any cost or financial obligation.

"This is a great thing for Surry County," said County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eddie Harris. "It's a classic example of how private companies can have a lasting partnership with public entities." He added that the benefits of the privately-funded project would be felt for years to come.

Petra Engineering installed a collection system to harvest the methane gas then directed it to a 20-cylinder engine for Barnabas Investment Group. The engine that was specially designed by Caterpillar, uses methane to produce 2,240 horse power which powers a 1600 kilowatt generator. Based on average consumer electrical usage, the Surry County Generation Facility will eventually produce enough electricity to power 945 homes annually. The greenhouse gas reductions from facility will reduce annual greenhouse equal to more than 13,000 passenger cars. The project also enables Duke Energy to purchase electricity from a currently untapped renewable fuel source.

Wayne Marshall, CEO of Petra Engineering noted during the ceremony that the project has been on the drawing board or in the construction phase for nearly two years. "It's been our pleasure to be a part of this project from day one," he said. "Because this is about a common-sense approach to stewardship of the environment."

Petra Engineering was founded in 2003 as a single-source provider of comprehensive energy and renewable services. By integrating renewable energy, demand-side and supply-side solutions, Petra Engineering works with its clients to leverage and optimize alternatives, reduce operating expenses, upgrade and maintain facilities, increase energy reliability and enhance the environment. For more information, visit www.petraeng.com

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