Northern Tier Greens
The Northern Tier Solid Waste Authority (NTSWA) is a small, very rural, three county, integrated solid waste authority located in north central Pennsylvania and encompasses not only the facets of solid waste but also the realm of sustainable agriculture. The NTSWA has been utilizing landfill gas to operate a reciprocating engine to turn a generator to produce electricity since 2001. On the surface, it seems a simple enough concept, but this project continues to evolve producing results from the destruction of landfill gases such as the real time sale of electricity, waste heat recovery, the production of edible crops through controlled environmental agriculture and the future off setting of carbon credits.
The Authority, being committed to recycling and reuse, felt there was a project that could utilize the waste heat produced by the generator engine and benefit to the rich agricultural heritage of the region. The resulting project was Northern Tier Greens, a 14,400 square foot, hydroponics greenhouse. The greenhouse uses a number of unique approaches to commercially grow lettuce type crops for local restaurants and grocers as well as individual sales. From concept to the first harvest was a quick 14 months. The first harvest was in January 2007 and since has reached 95% capacity. Growing only "greens", that from seed to harvest is less than 35 days; the Northern Tier Greens is producing net revenue for the NTSWA and adding to the regions heritage.