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.
http://www.powerscorecard.org/tech_detail.cfm?resource_id=5

 

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