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Q: Does China use their landfills to generate power?

 

If so, how common is it?

 

(Using methane gas to fuel engines/generators to feed the grid).

9 years 39 weeks ago in  General  - China

 
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Yes, but only a small percentage, about 10%~15%. (I just did a little research. This number is seen at most websites)

The photos in this gallery are of the garbage bury fields surrounding Beijing,

http://news.qq.com/a/20100617/000878.htm

China makes about 200 million tons of rubbish every year. About 70% are just buried there, or like in the photos above. 

 

I also noticed there is criticism against landfill power factories, arguing it's still pretty bad for environment in this way, and not worthy the high cost. 

 

I heard in some rural areas, there are small factories that turn people and animal's poops and straws into methane gas as kitchen fuel. 

 

Speaking of clean fuel, China indeed promotes ethanol gasoline a lot.  The ethanol is made from crops(mainly corn), which turned China from a corn export country to a pure corns import one,  and contributed to the corn price increase at global market. 

 

 

Sidicas:

I also noticed there is criticism against landfill power factories, arguing it's still pretty bad for environment in this way, and not worthy the high cost. 

 

 


That's completely wrong.

Landfills give off a mixture of gas that cause permanent damage to lungs, cause birth defects, and can significantly add to air pollution. You would never want gas to escape a landfill.

If you burn the gas emissions from a landfill, that puts an end to the toxic air emissions from the landfill.  That's why in the USA, every landfill is required to have vents with burn-off points.  They look like little sticks standing up on top of the landfill and are evenly spaced apart, or in some cases they look like little candy canes ( to prevent rainwater from plugging up the burn-off points which are always lit).

As far as using a landfill as a source of power.  Landfills put out a little bit of methane over a long time.  You could *maybe* power 50 or 100 homes for a duration of 50 years with a very large size landfill..  It's better than nothing, but most power authorities would classify that as not even being worth their time to consider.  There are a lot easier ways to make cheap power using coal or fossil fuels and they won't consider alternatives until they become more cheap, or the government puts up more regulations against pollution.



Even in the USA, the overwhelming majority of landfills just burn off their gasses.  The only exception I've ever heard of is where Google came in and make a little miniature power plant next to a landfill and hooked a small portion of their data center up to it. Cool stuff, but it's not going to be a source of significant amounts of power.

9 years 39 weeks ago
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