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?

Car Fuel Efficiency Counterpoint

I’ve always appreciated a zippy, spacious, and fuel-efficient car. In fact that is my criteria when I goout looking for the next car. I attend the annual car shows and soon determine what is available fornew or future used car purchase. Dealers soon figure that out, and don’t waste their time on the standard promotions with me.

My first car was a 1964 white with red leather interior impala, bucket seats, and stick shift that got 13-17 mpg; now referred to as a boat. My second was a smaller zippy station wagon with bucket seats, and stick shift that got 30-35 mpg.

Over the years the car cost has gone up as safety improvements and fuel efficiency increases were declared by manufacturers. But the facts showed that the gas efficiency went from 30-35 mpg to 28-32 mpg-in the same ballpark. The increased car price was tied to the requirements of getting increased efficiency-but where was the increased efficiency that was professed over four decades.

For a brief history of the car fuel economy refer to this brief report and graph. My second car purchased had met the fuel economy, and this was the reason (along with the oil shortage-crisis) that forced congress to enact the nations first fuel economy standards.

For how we regulate and determine car fuel economy refer to this article. It depends on social issues and government regulation.

From the Green Car Congress-refer to the reported sales of hybrids. Yet the fuel efficiency is not increasing compared to the higher cost, and the disposal of battery materials.

Business Week reported on “The Road to a new CAFÉ Standard” that forces automakers to more fuel efficiency. Will automakers achieve a 35 mpg fuel economy standard by 2020-approximately the same as my second car?

The EPA is responsible for providing fuel economy (gas mileage) data that is posted on the window stickers of new vehicles. Will the government agencies (EPA, DOE, DOT IRS) be able to control the fuel efficiency or will the public dictate by what it buys?

National security and environmental quality concerns were important forces affecting the U.S. petroleum industry during the past 30 years. Much of the Federal legislation on petroleum was directly or indirectly associated with limiting petroleum imports or reducing petroleum-related pollution. Several political and economic events that occurred between 1970 and 2000 were critical because of the Nation’s dependence on petroleum imports.

The cost of a barrel of oil has been held below $35 in the past years. Now due to regulations, environmental concerns, and the world situation it is now above $100 per barrel. Is fuel efficiency and environmental factors our main concerns, or has our requirement and dependency on government regulation gotten out of hand? Is there a free market, or just a desire to force their ill begotten will on us?

Of interest are the candidate’s views on technological issues: Energy, Climate change, Space program, skilled worker shortage, and technology.

My second car was able to meet 30-35 mpg. My present car meets 28-32 mpg. Have all the years really brought about an improvement in fuel efficiency and environmental concerns? I know a car does cost considerably more, it is also easier to maintain, but fuel efficiency?