Turning Trash into Energy

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It’s a fact of life, the 6.7 billion people on this planet produce a lot of garbage. Much of it fills up landfills where the decomposing trash gives off methane and carbon dioxide, the top two greenhouse gases. What if we could harness those gases and use them as a renewable energy resource? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s actually happening right now!

At this very moment, hundreds of landfill gas (LFG) energy projects are operational in the United States, which power and heat more than a million homes. There are still more landfills across the country that would be good candidates for LFG projects. If all were tapped, we could double the number of homes that would be able to reduce their reliance on polluting fossil fuels. Current industries using LFG include auto manufacturing, chemical production, food processing, pharmaceutical, cement and brick manufacturing, wastewater treatment, consumer electronics and products, paper and steel production, prisons, and hospitals.

How does it work? According to the EPA, ‘Landfill gas is extracted from landfills using a series of wells and a blower/flare (or vacuum) system. This system directs the collected gas to a central point where it can be processed and treated depending upon the ultimate use for the gas. From this point, the gas can be simply flared or used to generate electricity, replace fossil fuels in industrial and manufacturing operations, fuel greenhouse operations, or be upgraded to pipeline quality gas.’

Learn more about LFG projects that are a part of the EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP). The LMOP’s mission is ‘to reduce methane emissions by lowering barriers and promoting the development of cost-effective and environmentally beneficial landfill gas energy (LFG) projects.’

photo courtesy of landfill-site.com

Tag(s): Energy, Food, Going Green, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Global Warming


One Response to “Turning Trash into Energy”

  1. courtney on January 5th, 2010 7:20 pm

    great article

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