The methane miracle

To the Editor:

Heating and lighting 80,000 homes environmentally at half the cost of a decade ago by using no oil, coal, or natural gas, while getting rid of trash, meat packing plant refuse, wood waste, dump and sewage accumulations sounds super to me. Kristianstad in Sweden is doing that with great success.

Kristianstad saves half its heating costs with biogas.

The New York Times Environment section story of 12/11/10 reports on this methane technology in detail. The price tag of $144 million includes the central facility, laying the network of pipes, and installing generators in homes replacing the now unneeded furnaces. That's a lot of bang for the krona, or if we followed their lead, for the buck.

California and Wisconsin are studying this remarkable system, both as state run and as private industry. It is not aimed at crowding out wind or solar, but it could become an ecological companion, another way to have cleaner air while reducing the destructive effects of climate change.

Richard C. Bartlett
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