Landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 18 percent of methane emissions in 2012, up one percent from 2009. At the same time, landfill emissions represent a lost opportunity to capture and use a significant energy resource. Landfill gas (LFG) is created as waste decomposes in our landfills. The gas consists of about 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), about 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), and a small amount of non–methane organic compounds.
Instead of escaping into the air, LFG can be captured, converted, and used as an energy source. Using LFG helps to reduce odors and other hazards associated with LFG emissions, and it helps prevent methane from migrating into the atmosphere and contributing to local smog and global climate change.
LFG is extracted from landfills using a series of wells and a blower/flare (or vacuum) system. The system directs the collected gas to a central point where it can be processed and treated depending upon the ultimate use for the gas. From this point, the gas can be flared, used to generate electricity, replace fossil fuels in industrial and manufacturing operations, or upgraded to pipeline–quality gas where the gas may be used directly or processed into an alternative vehicle fuel.
While we recognize some may argue the “greenness” of LFG due to its source being a pollutant itself, we at “O” Ring CNG Fuel Systems believe it’s a much better alternative than letting the energy go to waste while American tax payers continue to pay exorbitant rates for foreign oil. The fact that humans create trash is a fact of life, but the fact that we utilize the byproduct energy source efficiently is in fact a form of recycling, literally turning trash into treasure. LFG is a real solution as a sustainable source of renewable energy now as well as for the future.