There is a big need to find alternative sources of environmentally friendly energy sources due to the fact that the common forms of energy are becoming extinct in the developing world with time and are contributing to some global problems such as the greenhouse effect and global warming. The most common form of alternative energy is waste to energy which produces heat and electrical energy from waste products. This method of producing energy aims at compressing and disposing waste properly while utilizing it to generate clean energy. However, generating clean energy from a landfill takes time. Methane is one of the most common gases that produce energy in the process because, after decomposition, the waste materials produce the gas. Usually, millions of tons of waste are produced and they are disposed to form a landfill. The effect is immense environmental problems affecting wildlife, human beings, and ecosystems. Therefore, developing clean energy from the landfills is very important not only to the environment but in ensuring that there will be reliable sources of energy when the common methods get exhausted.
The process of creating clean energy from landfills makes use of the gases created as trash break down in an environment that has no oxygen. The biological breakdown with the help of enzymes creates methane and carbon dioxide among other gases. When the gases are freely released into the atmosphere, especially methane would contribute serious greenhouse effect. However, the process collects the gas to develop electricity. Methane can be explosive in the range of five to fifteen percent in the atmosphere. The landfill gas is produced after natural anaerobic decomposition of organic waste in the landfill. Generally, more than 50 percent of the landfill gas produced is methane gas because it is the fossil fuel part of natural gas. However, in the biological process of decomposition to produce clean energy the important gas of methane, the type of waste or the composition of the garbage, temperature, levels of moisture and levels of pH determines how fast the garbage in the landfill decomposes.
The gas is first collected in the landfill by using a system of extraction which has trenches as well as gas wells connected within the landfill. After that, the gas is transported through underground pipes fitted on the well to take the landfill gas to a blower building and lastly to the energy plant where the various types of energy are produced. In the energy plant, combustion engines are used to produce electricity which is fed into power supply power grids ready for use in various homes.
The use of landfill gas for energy that is renewable should be harmonized with the priority of the owner of compliance and protection of the environment. Apart from producing electricity, landfill gas can be delivered to individual users to compensate fossil fuel in steam boilers, utility power plants among others. It can also be cleaned to natural gas and delivered to a natural gas pipeline.
Another alternative process that conserves energy involves advanced disposal. The gas that is collected has methane which is either destroyed through combustion in a flare or diverted to an on-site treatment facility to convert the energy. It is an effective way of recycling and reusing the resource. The cells of the landfill are filled with waste and methane that is an additional product of materials that decompose is gathered from the waste via vertical wells as well as pipelines. The gas is then driven to a different on-site treatment plant. Ultimately, the landfill gas that is treated gets pumped to a nearby off-site. This is an alternative process of creating clean energy from the landfill.
The destruction of methane gas or its total usage is important because it avoids the raw methane escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Non-thermal technologies can also be used to create clean energy. Fermentation is used as a way of turning waste into energy. Although anaerobic digestion is slow, it is also good. Energy is produced by using micro-organisms which break down the biodegradable materials in the landfills. There is no oxygen that is allowed during the process. It is an affordable method since it can be used at homes and in industries to produce clean energy. The anaerobic technology is important as it reduces greenhouse gases from the environment.
Japan has been successful in creating clean energy from landfills. There are power stations that consume dirty landfills and produce clean electricity. An electrically produced stream of hot, charged particles are used to process more than 200 tons of waste on a daily basis. At the factory, waste is superheated to more than 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Organic materials are then heated into a gaseous state by the heat. The rest inorganic materials are melted and eliminated. A composition of hydrogen and carbon dioxide called syngas are then extracted from the gas output and used to drive turbines and produce electricity. The gases that come from the plant will be processed to take out dangerous particles such as dioxins. The process of creating clean energy from the landfill is very important as it conserves the environment and ensures that dangerous gases such as methane do not escape to the atmosphere and leads to global disaster.
Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags