CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Catawba County cut the ribbon this week on a special project at the county's Eco-Complex at the Blackburn Landfill. A biodiesel research and testing facility has started operations there.
It is designed to be a major research tool for Appalachian State University and at the same time provide some fuel some county vehicles.
Equipment at the landfill uses 400 to 425 gallons of fuel per day. Researchers hope to cut costs by using extracting oil from plants like sunflowers planted in the landfill's buffer zone. The plant oil is then mixed with diesel fuel.
The project required an investment of $3 million shared by Appalachian State and the county. The eventual goal is for the facility to pay for itself.
Officials are hoping to use some of the garbage to make fertilizer to grow even more bio fuel plants and make the bio fuel process as efficient as possible.
It's a work in progress but officials think they are on the right track for the future.