You cannot turn on a computer or television, without seeing a story about climate change. Our planet is being choked by man-made emissions, and experts spend countless hours and dollars researching ways to reduce this plague, that we continue to bring upon ourselves. Changes have already been made in many industries, with hybrid vehicles, solar powered homes, and products made of recycled goods becoming ever more popular. But there are still huge questions when it comes to manufacturing and industrial fields. Nuclear power plants, steel companies, waste management facilities, coal mines… all industries that have come under fire in recent years, for producing dangerous emissions. The majority of recommendations to reduce these emissions involve cutting back on production, which could potentially have massive economic repercussions. But here is the thing, there is a simple solution, that has existed for decades. [Read more…]
What gases are released by landfills?
Landfills consist of a complex mix of gases and VOCs, and are a source of major pollution, and potential revenue… which we will address later in this article. Dangerous gases like methane (CH4), carbon dioxide(CO2), sulfides (SOx), and ammonia, are created by the decomposition and evaporation of organic compounds, as well as chemical reactions between waste components. Methane and carbon dioxide are the most prevalent, making up between 90 and 98% of all gases and VOCs released.
Why are these chemicals a concern?
These gases and VOCs are considered greenhouse gases, and play a huge role in global warming. According to the EPA, in the United States, landfills are the third most prevalent source of methane, and other greenhouse gases. Another risk when dealing with methane is the flammability of the gas, which is incredibly high. When condensed into a small space, methane is considered an explosive, and should be handled with extreme caution. Landfill gas explosions are not uncommon.
In addition to pollution and the risk of exploding, these VOCs pose a serious risk to human health. They have been linked to eye, throat and lung irritation, nausea, headache, nasal blockage, sleeping difficulties, weight loss, chest pain, and even asthma. Some recent studies indicate a connection between air pollution, and Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and slow fetal development. [Read more…]
What are hydrocarbons?
A hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting of only hydrogen and carbon atoms. They are group 14 hybrids, which means they contain hydrogen, as well as atoms of the carbon 14 group; carbon, silicon, germanium, tin, and lead. Carbon has 4 electrons, which means it has exactly 4 bonds to make, to be stable. Another type of hydrocarbons are aromatic hydrocarbons, which include alkanes, cycloalkanes, and alkyne-based compounds. Hydrocarbons can form more complex compounds, like cyclohexane, by bonding to themselves. This is known as catenation.
Methane Greenhouse Gas (CH4) is emitted from a variety of both human-related (anthropogenic) and natural sources. Human-related activities include fossil fuel production, animal husbandry (enteric fermentation in livestock and manure management), rice cultivation, biomass burning, and waste management. These activities release [Read more…]