Could landfill mining be the next exciting resources idea to sweep Europe?
Digging up landfills for extracting solid waste, recycling the usable materials, and converting the organic material into usable fuel, is an idea whose time has come, according to some experts, reports The Guardian.
Digging Up Fifty Years’ Worth Of Trash
Advanced Plasma Power (APP) is a UK company that has formed a joint venture to dig up a giant landfill near Hasselt, in eastern Belgium, which has been in use since the 1960s. The plan is to extract 16.5 million tonnes (that’s 16,500 million kilograms) of solid waste, recycle half of the rubbish, and convert the rest into energy.
The project is scheduled to become operational by 2014 and if it succeeds, is thought to be the first of its kind in the world.
Fuel For 60,000 Homes
APP will use its plasma technology to convert the methane produced by the trash, which is more than 20 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, into usable gas. This would fuel a 60MW power plant capable of supplying 60,000 homes.
There is a downside, however, since the process can be dangerous, especially if the landfill contains asbestos or other hazardous waste; it’s also possible for trapped methane to ignite when it is released.
Hope For The Future
The idea of digging up landfills has been considered before, but with the increasing shortage of landfill space, and greater need for electricity, it is looking more like a real option, particularly in small, crowded countries like the UK and Belgium.
But could this also the next big thing in the U.S.?
Creative Commons - D'Arcy Norman