Waste not Want Not (Part 2): Harnessing Landfill Gas
This article is part 2 in a series on Landfill gas - Read Waste Not Want Not (Part 1): Waste as a Source of Renewable EnergySome landfill sites have programs and mechanisms in place to sort and recycle waste. Others have stepped the recycling game up a notch, by developing infrastructure to harness gas from landfill sites. While landfill gas can technically be considered a source of renewable green energy, there are a few issues that detract from this.
Because landfill gas contains a high percentage of highly flammable methane gas, landfill gas needs to be burned or collected in order to prevent unwanted atmospheric emissions as well as explosions -- in many cases the danger of explosions is removed by simply flaring the gas. However, when landfill gas is flared, energy is not harvested in the process, which is a waste of a valuable source of energy. Also, when flared, methane is broken down into carbon dioxide, which although a less potent greenhouse gas than methane, is still an important contributor to climate change.
At Diamond Scientific, it is our business to help waste companies collect and manage hazardous landfill gases, including methane, that could pose a safety risk to workers and neighboring communities as well as the environment. We provide equipment and technology to both monitor and collect hazardous gases on site to prevent accidents and ensure a safe operating environment, and to turn a waste stream into a profitable source of energy.
While ramped up efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle waste may decrease the waste stream entering landfills slightly, landfills will always exist, and the stream of waste entering them is not likely to slow down dramatically. With modern society's heavy demand for electrical power, and humongous amounts of waste generated by its citizens, it makes sense to try and reduce the impact of decomposing waste on the environment by removing the Harnessing landfill gas that accumulates, and recycling this into a valuable resource that can supply power to run our electrical devices and techno gadgets. By Harnessing landfill gas, we are addressing not one, but two, of the big R's in the 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' mantra. But in order for this to be a truly 'green' initiative, it needs to be done responsibly, with careful monitoring of hazardous greenhouse gases to minimize the impact on the environment, and prevent hazardous situations that could endanger human life.
Image Credit: © Copyright Chris Andrews, [CC BY-SA 2.0]