Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Electricity Producing Landfills

Just like we can use garbage to produce energy efficient products, we can also use landfills to produce electricity. Microorganisms that live in organic materials like wasted food, yard clippings or paper cause this garbage to decompose. As its decomposing, it is emmitting landfill gas usually made of 60 percent methane and 40 percent carbon dioxide. It is said that these emmissions can supply up to 1 percent of the nations energy demand if conserved. Therefore, emmitting these gases into the atmosphere, it is unhealthy for the environment, but if we can conserve these gases, it could be utilized for electrical uses. These gases can be collected by drilling "wells" and collecting these gases through pipes. It is then combined with natural gas to fuel conventional combustion turbines or used to fuel small combustion turbines. This changes the way landfills can be ran, because these pollutants are the major "side-effect" to having so much trash in one place such as a landfill (powerscorecard.org). Although we can not change landfills into anything "green" like energy star appliances, drilling these wells to absorb landfill gases can help conserve our primary source of electricity. Its a win win for the landfill vs. environment war.

powerscorecard.org, Electricity From: Landfill Gas, 2000.


Keeping things out of landfills & saving the planet

We have learned how landfills affect the environment in a harmful way, but what can we do to keep trash out of them and re-use them for new products? Well, the answer is in Energy Star products and other energy efficient items used in many new homes today. One company named Mar-Flex Building Solutions is on top of the game with their innovated ways of using recycled materials to build and use in houses. Their building products contain 25 to 100 percent recycled materials, even though current building industry standards only require 10 percent to be considered a "green" product. The first green product made by Mar-Flex was Shockwave in 2007. It was a crushproof drain board that protects the concrete. The Shockwave was made of scrap from car seats and dashboards that was heated to 350 degrees to hold together. It was the only one in the world made of 100 percent recycled material. They later produced more green products such as an air barrier, Vortex, etc (Levingston, Chelsey). Another way to help the environment and keep waste out of landfills is re-using parts from old cars in a "bone yard" then going an buying brand new parts. You can get just about anything you need for your car for a very cheap price, and it is helping the environment at the same time.

Levingston, Chelsea. Mar-Flex Developing Building Products Made From 100% Recycled Materials. 4/11/11. http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/mar-flex-developing-building-products-made-from-100mar-flex-developing-building-products-made-from-100-recycled-materials-1132692.html