What to do with an old landfill? Energy generation

25 Oct 2010

In San Antonio, Republic Services Inc. is taking energy recovery to a new level, installing a geomembrane landfill cover with flexible solar technology that will help power a sustainable energy park at the Tessman Road Landfill. Flexible laminate-type photovoltaic solar collection strips are configured on the geomembrane cap to maximize hours of sunlight throughout the year. Photo courtesy Republic Services / Geosynthetics magazine

With many old and newer landfills, there aren’t many options for beneficial reuse.  The EPA has released a draft plan, Re-Powering America’s Land Initiative Management Plan, and will be accepting comments on it until November 30th. This plan, long in development, sets out three main goals for the federal government in dealing with brownfield and landfill sites:

1. Incentives and technical assistance for siting renewable energy projects on contaminated land;

2.   Creating a unified federal approach to promoting the siting of renewable energy on contaminated lands and federal lands; and

3.  Providing best practices and data to facilitate the successful reuse of contaminated sites.

This sort of idea has been proposed previously for landfill development, Walking on Sunshine,  for Texas and for Ohio, Toledo Finds Way To Promote Alternative Energy, and Landfill May Get Solar Panels.  Now, the federal government is trying to standardize and promote this.  Closed landfills have been used as recreational property (sledding hills and ballfields) for years but, given the inability to build or plant on most landfills, this seems a positive approach to beneficially reusing these sites for something more.

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