Methane is a gas that remains in the atmosphere for up to 15 years. Landfills, coal mines and wastewater treatment, natural gas and petroleum facilities are only a few of the sources that emit this gas. ‘Landfill Methane Utilization’ is a clean energy practice. Using anaerobic digesters, the gas can be harnessed for energy. One pound of methane traps 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than a pound of carbon dioxide. Landfills use a device called a methane burner to convert the gas into water and carbon dioxide, which traps less heat in the atmosphere than methane. Methane is a simple gas, a single carbon atom with four arms of hydrogen atoms. This greenhouse gas is produced by many natural and human-influenced sources. This is recognised by the US military. Methane (CH4) is the same energy-rich compound found in natural gas. Methane produced by manure and food waste in landfills doesn't have to go to waste. Watch our video about gases from landfills powering US military bases, in this case the Air Force, by watching our video below: Composition of the Biogas Gases from Landfills. Since all landfills generate methane, it makes perfect sense to use this landfill gas for renewable energy generation rather than emitting it into the atmosphere. There are other gases produced too; this mix of gases produced by anaerobic microbes is called biogas. Old landfills are punctuated by pipes that collect the biogas, which is then burned to prevent the gas from entering the atmosphere (and prevent the neighbors from smelling the stink). Landfill gas can be recovered and utilized to generate electricity, fuel industries and heat buildings. Methane gas remains in the atmosphere for about 9 to 15 years. But … The decomposition of organic waste in landfills produces a gas which is composed primarily of methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Methane is also the main ingredient in natural gas. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. The gas produced by landfills can be used to generate electricity when collected from large landfills. Because methane can be captured from landfills, it can be burned to produce electricity, heat buildings, or power garbage trucks. There are two major benefits to recovering and utilizing landfill gas. Landfill methane can be tapped, captured, and used as a fairly clean energy source for generating electricity or heat, rather than leaking into the air or being dispersed as waste. The climate benefit is twofold: prevent landfill emissions and displace coal, oil, or natural gas that might otherwise be used. The microbes produce methane gas as a waste product.
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