The Altamont Landfill located near San Francisco is California’s largest landfill with currently over 50 million tons of trash. This will remain the largest with over 5,000 tons of waste being dumped on a daily basis. Huge transfer trucks consistently fill the landfill with the waste removed from residents of northern California.
The garbage may be unwanted but when combined with massive amounts of other waste produces something that is very desirable. Landfills create methane gas, which is the main ingredient in natural gas. The methane from the trash would normally be incinerated can be used to provide fuel source for the same trucks that unload the waste.
The Altamont Landfill has set up a brand new facility that is able to convert the methane gas into a fuel that is pumped directly into the trucks. This alternative fuel source is not only cleaner but also more efficient. In terms of environmental impact, it is a 90 percent reduction of greenhouse gases.
This technological and environmental innovation has allowed the California landfill to become one of the cleanest in the country and uses fuel that is even cleaner than the natural gas we use in our homes. Also owners of the Altamont Landfill have reportedly save thousand of dollars each week that would normally be spent on gasoline.
The design for the garbage truck that runs on trash has been in the works for many years but has led to the creation of the most powerful truck engine to run on natural gas in history. Not only is the engine effective but also produces very little noise. Currently, there are the 3 prototype trucks running off of converted methane but it should not be long until the entire fleet has made the worthwhile transition.
There are countless benefits to this initiative and it is just a matter of time before landfills around the world follow suit. What has been nicknamed “trash gas” is a huge step in the right direction to relieving the burdens associated with landfills and the dependence on foreign oil. This is just another example of California leading the environment efforts and reducing our impact on our world.