Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ENERGY TECH
Researchers ID Microbe Responsible For Methane From Landfills

Researchers can use these findings to accelerate methane production for power generation.
by Staff Writers
Raleigh NC (SPX) Apr 08, 2011
Researchers have long known that landfills produce methane, but had a hard time figuring out why - since landfills do not start out as a friendly environment for the organisms that produce methane. New research from North Carolina State University shows that one species of microbe is paving the way for other methane producers.

Specifically, the researchers found that an anaerobic bacterium called Methanosarcina barkeri appears to be the key microbe.

"Landfills receive a wide variety of solid waste, and that waste generally starts out with a fairly low pH level," says Dr. Francis de los Reyes, an associate professor of civil engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

"The low pH level makes it difficult for most methanogens - methane-producing organisms - to survive. We started this project in hopes of better understanding the mechanism that raises the pH level in landfills, fostering the growth of methanogens."

What the researchers found was M. barkeri - a hearty methanogen that can survive at low pH levels. M. barkeri consumes the acids in its environment, producing methane and increasing the pH levels in its immediate area. This, in turn, makes that area more amenable for other methanogens.

As moisture leaches through the landfill, it disseminates those high pH levels - making other parts of the landfill habitable for M. barkeri and other methane-producing microbes. M. barkeri then moves in and repeats the process, leaving neutral pH levels - and healthy populations of other methanogens - in its wake.

Since M. barkeri and its methanogen cousins produce large quantities of methane, and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, this could be bad news for the environment. But not necessarily.

Methane can be, and often is, collected at landfill sites and used for power generation. Furthermore, methanogens break down solid waste as they go, compacting it so that it takes up less space.

"The research community can use our findings to explore ways of accelerating the methane-generation process," de los Reyes says, "creating methane more quickly for power generation, and making additional room in the landfill for waste disposal."

The paper, "Effect of Spatial Differences in Microbial Activity, pH, and Substrate Levels on Methanogenesis Initiation in Refuse," will be published in the April issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Bryan Staley, who did the work while a Ph.D. student at NC State; de los Reyes; and Dr. Morton Barlaz, professor and department head of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State. The research was funded by Waste Management, Inc. and the Environmental Research and Education Foundation.



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
North Carolina State University
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


ENERGY TECH
First Practical Nanogenerator Produces Electricity With Pinch Of The Fingers
Anaheim CA (SPX) Apr 05, 2011
After six years of intensive effort, scientists are reporting development of the first commercially viable nanogenerator, a flexible chip that can use body movements - a finger pinch now en route to a pulse beat in the future - to generate electricity. Speaking at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, they described boosting the device's power output b ... read more







ENERGY TECH
Mekong Countries To Convene Additional Meeting On Xayaburi Project

Facebook makes data centers greener and cheaper

Developing Commercial Hydrokinetic Energy Projects

New Zealand to slash emissions by half

ENERGY TECH
Venezuela fights inflation in recovery bid

Exploring The Possibilities For Zeolites

Museveni tightens grip on Uganda's oil

Decision on South Stream route this summer

ENERGY TECH
Manitoba wind farm comes online

Alstom Announces Commercial Operation Of First North American Wind Farms

Vestas unveils new offshore turbine

US hopes to resolve China wind turbine rift

ENERGY TECH
GE to build massive solar plant

BlueChip Energy Announces Development Of 40MW Solar Farm In Florida

Industry Analyst Predicts 50 Percent Drop In Solar Project Costs

SolarBridge Named 2011 Edison Best New Product Awards Gold Winner

ENERGY TECH
Researchers Improve Path To Producing Uranium Compounds For Advanced Nuclear Fuels

Toshiba 'could decommission Japan reactors in 10 years'

Japan nuclear watchdog tightens safety rules

German nuclear companies halt environmental payments

ENERGY TECH
Economics, Physics Are Roadblocks For Mass-Scale Algae Biodiesel Production

Advance Toward Making Biodegradable Plastics From Waste Chicken Features

Short Rotation Energy Crops Could Help Meet UK's Renewable Energy Targets

Boeing Issues First Latin American Study On Jatropha Sustainability

ENERGY TECH
What Future for Chang'e-2

China setting up new rocket production base

China's Tiangong-1 To Be Launched By Modified Long March II-F Rocket

China Expects To Launch Fifth Lunar Probe Chang'e-5 In 2017

ENERGY TECH
Emissions Trading Does Not Cause Pollution Hot Spots

US Senate defeats bid to gut climate efforts

Climate Change Is Making Our Environment 'Bluer'

Climate change called security threat


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement