Catawba County EcoComplex Turns Waste into Green Jobs

  • 3/07/2014

Through private-public partnerships, the Catawba County EcoComplex turns waste streams into energy sources (electricity, steam, or heat) and green jobs.

Built by Appalachian State University in partnership with Catawba County, the complex turns methane produced from landfill waste into an energy collection system that powers 1,300 homes each year.

The energy collection process begins with the methane generated from landfill waste being burned in internal combustion engines. These engines then turn a generator to create electricity. Waste heat is also used for heating the building and heating the biodiesel process.

With 500 tons per day of waste in Catawba County, this project reduces carbon dioxide emissions by over 100,000 metric tons. The EcoComplex houses not only this methane-to-energy project, but several other green projects, including growing 100 acres of biocrop. This biocrop is converted to biofuel used by county public transportation.

Incorporating high tech green energy production and applied industrial ecology, the project has the principle of sustainability at its core. The complex is completely self-sustaining and runs without the use of any tax dollars.

Learn more about the Catawba County EcoComplex.