ARTICLE

Iowa City moving ahead with trash-to-biofuel research

Estimates indicate plan could reduce landfill waste by up to 80 percent

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, which serves Johnson County, Kalona and Riverside, receives about 450 tons
The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, which serves Johnson County, Kalona and Riverside, receives about 450 tons of trash daily. (Sujin Kim/IowaWatch)

Iowa City is moving forward with exploring a project that could divert solid waste from the landfill for use in biofuel production.

The City Council Tuesday night gave staffers the OK to proceed with two requests for proposals related to the concept. One would be to hire a consultant who specializes in solid-waste agreements. That consultant, expected to cost $40,000 to $50,000, would then help the city draft a request for proposals to find a firm that could carry out the project, said Rick Fosse, Iowa Cityís public works director.

City officials last year spoke with representatives from Maryland-based Fiberight about the company's plans for a $59.5 million biorefinery plant in Blairstown in Benton County. The company wants to convert municipal solid waste into biofuel.

Fiberight at the time estimated it could decrease the amount of waste going into Iowa Cityís landfill by up to 80 percent.

Fosse said the city is interested in receiving proposals from Fiberight or companies like it that provide alternatives to putting municipal solid waste into landfills. A consultant is needed because itís such a specialized topic, he said.Iowa City hopes to send out the second request for proposals, seeking companies that could undertake the waste-to-biofuel work, by early summer, Fosse said.

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