Monday, July 21, 2008

Gas Hills of Carrollton

The following Dallas news story gives a lot of hope, particularly to the North Carrollton residents living around the Indian Creek community. I am glad to see this happening, and hope a similar step will be taken by the DFW Landfill. Conservation is good!

Mike Ghouse

Editorial: Gas from garbage
09:04 AM CDT on Friday, July 18, 2008

Despite the persuasive power of Tommy Lee Jones, Dallas won't be pumping a bonanza of natural gas from belowground. The city doesn't have the luck to be sitting atop major Barnett Shale gas formed over billions of years.

But eat your heart out, Tommy Lee. What Dallas does have is the technology and ingenuity to create its own natural gas in a matter of a few months. It's an exciting, forward-thinking venture that will make the most out of a decidedly unexciting thing: household trash.
Put that in your well and light it, cowboy.

The McCommas Bluff Landfill near Interstates 45 and 20 is Dallas' man-made gas field. The first biotechnology cell – a massive, 30-acre, pipe-laced, liquid-infused, microbial-rich burial mound of refuse – is now taking shape there. By fall, its decomposing waste will begin creating enough methane to enter pipelines. The cell could eventually produce as much gas as a couple of respectable Barnett wells – enough to serve the needs of 9,000 homes (based on typical use of 5,000 cubic feet a month).

Think of it as extreme recycling.

Trash-to-energy projects have cropped up around the country, perhaps 100 so far, with a concentration on the East Coast. It would figure that Dallas' biotech operation may be the biggest one yet once fully developed, with seven working cells.

(The project is in keeping with the visitor bureau's "Live Large" slogan, but somehow we doubt tour buses will be making loops around Dallas' cutting-edge trash heaps.)

Any backyard composter with delusions of selling gas to the neighbors should first consider the scale. Figure the average household tosses out 7.2 pounds of refuse a day. At that rate, it would take 91,324 years to create a trash heap just one-tenth the size of the first McCommas cell.
A more rational person might start smaller and think personal use. And these people are out there. (Google up methane and do-it-yourself.) But to join them, be prepared to irritate the neighbors. A good backyard methane pit uses a lot of pig and chicken manure.


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