You've probably heard of methane. It's a gas that is produced in great amounts by landfills and that is thought to have negative, greenhouse effects on the earth's atmosphere. Methane traps heat inside the earth's atmosphere, contributing to global warming or climate change. It makes sense, then, that reducing methane emissions should be a priority in helping to curtail climate change. But how do you do that when waste is being delivered to landfills by the ton? Well, it all comes down to a piece of equipment called an enclosed biogas flare. Here's a closer look at these devices and how they work to reduce methane emissions.
What is an enclosed biogas flare?
An enclosed biogas flare is basically an instrument that is designed to burn biogas. In this case, the biogas being burned is methane. An enclosed biogas flare basically takes in the methane that the landfill produces and burns it, which results in the release of less harmful gasses. Because the instrument is enclosed, there is little risk of items nearby starting on fire. This is why landfill operators use enclosed biogas flares rather than the open biogas flares that are commonly used in wastewater treatment plants.
What happens to the heat generated by the burning of the methane?
At most landfills that use enclosed biogas flares, the heat produced by burning the gas is harnessed and either converted to electricity or directly used to heat nearby buildings, such as the landfill's office or a nearby recycling plant. The heat does not go to waste, which is another reason why using these flare system is such an eco-friendly move. Basically, the enclosed biogas flares are turning a harmful waste product, methane, into a commodity that can be used — heat.
What are the risks associated with using enclosed biogas flares?
The primary risks arise when the flares are operated improperly or by someone who has not received the proper training. If the correct temperature is not maintained, harmful gases, like nitrous oxide, can sometimes be produced. Sulfur dioxide, which is known to irritate respiratory passages, may also be released if the flares are burned at too low a temperature. There is, of course, a risk of fire if the area around the flare is not kept tidy, too.
Enclosed biogas flares have allowed landfills to work more efficiently and effectively. Talk to an enclosed biogas flare supplier in your area for more information.