Can Landfill Waste Be Used as Energy?
Yes! Waste from landfills can serve as a source of renewable energy. In fact, one kind of waste-based energy comes from landfill gas. Waste-based energy is the source of over 5% of all renewable energy in the United States.
The methane captured from landfills is a green, renewable, carbon-neutral energy that can help power an electricity grid and fuel vehicles. This can help to ease our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.
According to the EPA, over 650 landfills in the United States have landfill methane to energy programs. Likewise, the EPA has identified another 400 landfills to be good candidates for these programs in the future.
How Can Landfill Gas Be Used?
For one, landfill gas can be converted into electricity. Landfill gas can also be directly used offset the use of other types of fuel including coal and fuel oil. It can also be used as an alternative fuel for transportation. Landfill gas can also be used to generate thermal power.
Electricity generation is the most popular energy recovery uses. Landfill gas can be used for boilers, kilns, dryers, and more. Industries like auto manufacturing, food processing, pharmaceuticals, wastewater treatments, and hospitals all use energy from landfill gas.
In fact, the use of landfill gas for transportation fuel is rapidly growing. This provides a renewable alternative for vehicles that operate on natural gas, including many trucks in waste industry fleets.
Can Landfill Gas Take Us to Space?
It can certainly help. NASA is using landfill gas to fuel its space exploration programs. As a matter of fact, NASA is saving more than $3 million over the next decade by heating over 30 buildings at its Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland by using energy from landfill gas.
How Else Can Landfills Help Generate Energy?
Recently, landfill operators have started generating energy beyond just gas from landfills by installing solar panels and windmills on their sites. The solar power and wind power from these landfills can be fed into local electrical grids and be used to power local businesses and homes.
As technology continues to develop, so will the environmental benefits that can be derived from landfills across the country. With new technology and regulations, only the best facilities meeting those requirements are still operating today. These facilities are more efficient and able to accept more waste than ever before.
Today’s modern landfills are well-designed and engineered facilities. In fact, today’s landfills are so efficient that there are significantly fewer landfills than there were a few years ago.