Energy from the Landfill

Landfills produce a lot of methane gas, one of the main greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. In an effort to both reduce that impact and responsibly reuse the gas, some municipalities are converting it into energy.

"Not long ago, there wasn't much a landfill could do with methane, except burn it. That cuts down the pungent smell and makes nice with neighbors who are unfortunate enough to live near a landfill. Recently, however, localities have come to see methane not just as a stinky nuisance but also as a valuable commodity. Hundreds of landfills around the country have begun transforming methane into electricity and biofuels. The gas can be sent directly to buildings to run heating and cooling systems, can be purified into natural gas, and liquefied or compressed to power garbage trucks and city buses."

Though the costs of capturing and converting methane can be unaffordable for few but the largest municipalities, new federal grants are enabling some smaller cities to get in the game.

Full Story: Methane from Landfills

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