Fox Metro is currently working on a project to harvest the methane gas naturally produced in the wastewater treatment process put into the Nicor gas pipeline. Methane is produced by the decomposition of organic material in the digesters. Fox Metro methane that isn’t burned off is used to heat boilers for the plant’s digesters.

Almost 60% of the methane gas produced from the treatment plant is burned off by the flares you might see when driving past the plant at night. The methane could instead be captured as natural gas to heat homes or used for cooking.

Fox Metro’s gas will be properly filtered, put into the Nicor pipeline, and sold. Nicor will then sell the gas to consumers. To meet Nicor standards, the gas needs to be compressed and properly filtered to remove any impurities. Natural gas for public consumption needs to be about 97% methane.

The benefits of this project include a significant reduction of greenhouse gases emitted from the treatment process and add to Fox Metro’s campus sustainability initiatives. Using natural gas produces significantly less carbon emissions than coal or oil. The Fox Metro team will need to install gas filtration equipment and the infrastructure to tie it into the natural gas pipeline over the next 2 years. This project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2026.   Fox Metro is also pursuing federal grant incentives to partially or fully fund the project.