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Regina city councillor Fred Clipsham says the landfill gas collection system may soon generate cash for the city. ((John Weidlich/CBC))

Methane gas generated at the Regina landfill may generate some cash for the city at some point.

The city recently installed a $2.5 million gas collection system in the dump and a private company, the Solar Hydrogen Energy Corp., has plans to commercialize it.

It's considered good for the environment because the landfill gas — a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide created when garbage decomposes — would otherwise end up in the atmosphere, where it would contribute to global warming.

The company wants to use solar energy to break the methane down into clean-burning hydrogen gas, beginning next year.

The hope is that gas sales will result in annual revenues of $50,000 to $70,000.

The project is also expected to create "carbon credits" of $4 to $6 per tonne, which could generate $80,000 to $100,000 per year, according to the city. Under climate-change control initiatives such as the new provincialplan in B.C., pollutersmay be ablebuy "credits"from companies that are mitigatinggreenhousegas production.

For now, the methane is being burned. The carbon dioxide producedthrough "flaring" is still a greenhouse gas, but it's considerably less potent than methane, city officials say.

Coun. Fred Clipsham said it's a worthwhile project for taxpayers because it reduces greenhouse gas production and could be a money-maker.

"The property taxpayer also has to be concerned with the condition of the planet," Clipsham said. "We can't just do things willy-nilly.We have to do things the right way. This is doing it the right way."

The city plans to set up a second phase of gas collection apparatus in the next four or five years.