Recycled natural gas and landfill gas are two terms natural gas customers are hearing more frequently, especially when the topic is green energy. But what exactly do these terms mean and how do they impact customers?
First, landfill gas. Landfill gas (LFG) is the natural by-product that is created as solid waste in landfills begins decomposing. In other words, it’s the gas emitted from rotting garbage. Comprised primarily of carbon dioxide and methane, landfill gas contributes to smog, odors, global climate change (methane is a greenhouse gas), and it’s flammable. However, instead of allowing this recycled natural gas to escape into the air, natural gas companies can capture, convert, and use it as an energy source.
Landfill gas becomes recycled natural gas when it is processed and added into the existing natural gas distribution system for delivery to homes and businesses. Thanks to new technologies, the result is a cleaner and safer environment with no difference in the natural gas service being provided. Recycled natural gas means that the gas was generated in a landfill.
So, it’s a win-win. The dangers of landfill gas are reduced and the natural gas supply is increased. And it’s eco-friendly and sustainable. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, landfills are one of the largest sources of methane gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 25 percent of all methane sources. However, of the 1,800 municipal landfills in the U.S., which accept approximately 60 percent of all municipal solid waste, less than 500 are capturing and converting LFG. One of these is the Live Oak Landfill in metro Atlanta. Georgia natural gas customers are already benefiting from this DeKalb County landfill that is capable of producing enough natural gas to fuel approximately 15,000 homes and could produce recycled gas for about 15 years. This process is also contributing to better natural gas prices for people in this area.