March 2010

Landfill Garbage Methane Gas Counterpoint

One of the biomass fuels that have been given little attention is methane gas generated from garbage in Waste Management dumps. Waste Management is converting methane gas from rotting trash into electricity power. The gas powers turbines that turn generators, producing electricity for a power grid. In the U.S. the number of methane gas projects has grown to 510 and generate more than 1.563 megawatts per year, or supply energy to power 1.6 million homes. A landfill will produce gas for 20 to 30 years, and is a reliable consistent source. Economics, energy legislation mandates, and technology advancements are the reason for the fuels development. At the present, landfill gas power cost is about the same as from wind, but is still more expensive than from coal-generated power (Cents per kilowatt-hour: Coal=3 to 8, Landfill gas=7 to 10, Wind=5 to 11).

Methane is the second most important green house gas after carbon dioxide. Reducing its emissions in the atmosphere, and using it for energy power generation and a component of natural gas are good reasons landfill methane-electricity projects made up 10.8% of the country’s renewable energy output. The EPA says, landfill methane becomes a greenhouse gas at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the principle greenhouse gas, when it rises in the atmosphere.

The 1.6 billion tons of garbage, 550 lbs per person, is a growing potential source for clean energy. The methane generated in the landfills should be used for energy power instead of being released to the atmosphere.

Other Reference info:

EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP)

A look at Waste Management and landfill gas energy resources

Sources of Energy-the fossil fuels

FEC harnesses methane gas to create energy

Garbage to gas

Fun Facts about Fungi

California garbage trucks fueled by…

Green Jobs and Coal Counterpoint

Articles are now being written that state “The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.” Wind industry jobs increased to 85,000 in 2008, while coal mining employs about 81,000 workers. The increase in wind energy generation is due to proposed climate change and carbon tax legislation. The 50% increase in installed wind capacity in 2008 is one third of the nations total, and is still leading the green energy industry. The future of wind energy generation seems to be tied to the tax credit due to global credit crisis delays and investor liabilities.

The coal, oil, and natural gas industries have become fairly stable for the last few years, as the ability to find new sources has been limited and mining more efficient. The increase of green (renewable) energy jobs has increased due to strong global government support. It has been estimated that the nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Investment has been spent on Wind Power, but 80%of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines. It is a fact that renewable energy makes up 3% and coal 50% of our nations electrical energy. Then why does the wind industry require more jobs than coal?

Does wind power really provide more jobs than coal?

Refer to “Coal and jobs in the United States.”

Other interesting reading:

Green Jobs, Fact or Fiction?

Defining Green and meaningful net jobs.

Renewable energy is more for jobs than dirty coal.

Coal is not the answer.

Green policies in California generated jobs?