Environmentally Friendly Fuel for Vehicles

Trash Hauling Trucks Fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas

Waste Management, Inc., a garbage collection company in Livermore, California, operates trash hauling trucks fueled by liquefied natural gas. The liquefied natural gas (LNG), an environmentally friendly fuel, was created from landfill methane gas produced by decaying refuse from landfills where the trucks deliver trash. Benefits of liquefied natural gas for fuel is a reduction in greenhouse gases and methane in the air.

The WNDU article, “At landfills, garbage is turning into energy and money,” (Nick McGurk, Jan. 6, 2010) states, “When garbage decomposes, it creates methane gas – some twenty times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide. But recently, landfills have been working on ways to harness methane gas into energy and revenue.”

Landfill Methane Gas

Trash from San Francisco and Oakland is trucked to Altamont Sanitary Landfill. Trash from the landfill, such as food scraps, grass clippings, and organic waste, are broken down by bacteria. As the material decomposes, gases are released. Methane is one gas produced by the decomposition process.

Methane gas is one of the main greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and California has some of the strictest greenhouse reduction gas goals in the United States. The EPA report, “Altamont Landfill Gas to Liquefied Natural Gas Project” (Jan. 5, 2010) states, “The $15.5 million project meets California directives to advance biomass as a transportation fuel and to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.”

Benefits of Liquefied Natural Gas

Methane from the landfill is purified and transformed into LNG before it can escape, which reduces greenhouse emissions. Since methane is created in landfills, capturing the gas before it enters the atmosphere will reduce harmful environmental impacts that would otherwise result in the presence of a landfill.

Using LNG to fuel trash and recycling trucks reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air when compared to gasoline or diesel. According to the EPA, “Each day, the plant processes 3 million cubic feet of LFG, yielding 13,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that will fuel 300 garbage trucks.”

Controlling and reducing levels of methane gas in landfills will benefit communities near landfills that participate in conversion programs. Gas odors will be greatly diminished with the capturing of methane gas before it enters the air.

Reducing wastes in landfills is beneficial to the environment, especially reducing the amount of methane gas entering the atmosphere. Using liquefied natural gas as a fuel source is important to the environment because it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air. At the present time, converting methane gas in landfills to liquefied natural gas is expensive; however, costs are expected to decrease in the future.

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