SERIOUS MONDAY: POWER FROM RUBBISH

Every cloud has a silver lining so they say ….. and it seems the old expression applies even to the much-maligned landfill site.

In America, gas from landfill sites is now being used as an alternative form of energy for around a million homes.

And as demand grows for alternative energy sources, experts predict that its use will become much more widespread.

Landfill gas is produced by the breaking down of organic matter in waste dumped in a landfill site and is made up of both methane and carbon dioxide.

Waste Management companies are now building special plants that can convert the gas into energy for household use and it is estimated that many landfill sites have sufficient gas to run for around 20 years.

In the UK alone, around 100 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill every year and if the gas it produces is simply left for release into the atmosphere, it is a potent greenhouse gas. There is also a danger that it could leak offsite to nearby buildings and cause explosions.

So, using it as a form of renewable energy actually avoids two potential problems in addition to saving fossil fuels!

This summer, sustainable energy company, ENER-G will open the UK’s first waste gasification plant on the Isle of Wight, generating enough power to serve around 3000 homes.

Planning permission has also been given for another plant in Irvine, Scotland where building is due to begin later this year and the company is also hoping to build a smaller plant on Merseyside. This would generate enough electricity for over 10,000 homes and produce heat for use by neighbouring businesses.

Susan

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