Research into alternative energy sources have discovered the use of methane gas. Experiments with this gas have led to questionable outcomes as a possible resource. If not handled properly, this natural gas could cause more harm than good.

Potential Rocket Fuel
Methane is a common natural gas which has the molecular formula CH4. When methane is burnt, carbon dioxide and water are produced as byproducts. When mixed with oxygen, methane burns, and since it is quite clean and relatively abundant while burning, methane has become an attractive source of fuel. Its transportation can be a bit difficult though, because it is still a gas, and usually pipelines are used in order to transport it.

Methane gas energy can be used for producing electricity by burning it in steam boilers or gas turbines. Methane is piped into many homes, and is usually used for cooking appliances and heating systems. It is also possible to use methane for vehicle fuel, but before using it for this purpose, it must be compressed. This is thought to be much more environmentally friendly than diesel or petroleum fuels. Methane’s energy content per cubic meter is 39 megajoules.

There are a lot of efforts currently being put forth to use methane gas in landfills as a source of alternative energy. It is quite easy to funnel landfill methane gas emissions and, as a result, power electrical turbines. For example, the city of Vancouver uses landfill methane gas for warming a year-round vegetable-growing greenhouse. Getting methane gas energy by burning it is doubly beneficial for the environment, because not only does the acquired electricity eliminate other polluting sources of energy (such as coal power plants, which currently supply 50 percent of U.S. power), but it also dramatically decreases its impact on climate change. When methane gas is burned, it is converted into water vapor and Carbon Dioxide, both of which have much less harmful effects on the environment.

According to the EPA, there are huge opportunities for methane projects in landfills. The Landfill Methane Outreach Program and its many officials in three states have confirmed this. As the search for renewable sources of energy intensifies, local, state, and federal governments are giving landfill methane gas a lot more attention. Private waste-management and energy companies, energy entrepreneurs, and landfill owners are all interested in such projects.

The EPA continues to say that if methane is not burned or captured, it turns into an extremely harmful greenhouse gas, which has at least 20 times the intensity of CO2 (which is the primary greenhouse gas), as it goes up into the atmosphere. The EPA also came up with an estimate that 25 percent of human-linked methane releases come from landfills. So, the conclusion is that capturing landfill methane gas and active, as well as former landfills has enormous benefit for the world and the environment and is a renewable energy niche that has yet to be fully explored.

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25 Responses to “The dangers of handling methane gas the wrong way: updated article”

  1. 1
    jon Says:

    No way – steak is way to tasty! Better way to reduce methane emmisions is to catch the methane heavy emmissions from landfills. Waste to energy plants do this and are a great thing for the future (and present).

  2. 2
    jim Says:

    Go vegetarian! Methane emmisions have risen by more than 50 percent in the last 3 decades, and the reason for this is that so many more people around the world are now eating beef. Less cows = less mthane.

  3. 3
    mike Says:

    Methane gas is the great unknown (amongst the general public) cause of global warming. So much effort is being put into reducing CO2 emmisions (which is right), but so little is being done about methane emissions. This needs to change!

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    Raffi Says:

    A very interesting gas, methane being used towards space rocket fuel should be explored carefully and thoroughly. We’ve seen NASA lose one shuttle at launch because of mixture issues. We don’t want to lose anymore but continuing the exploration of space and finding new ways to heat our world should be a global issue of importance.

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