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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Landfills to Fertilize Biofuel Crop With Trash-Juices

Two British landfills could soon use their trash’s syrupy excretions to irrigate and fertilize on-site biomass crops.

A developer, Waste Recycling Group, hopes to construct two 18-foot-deep lagoons near landfills to produce fertilizer from the leachate that oozes from the trash piles. The substance will be pumped from the dump into the lagoons where bacteria will eat away at the contaminants. The developer then hopes to use the fertilizer to grow willow coppices at the landfill for use as biofuel.

While neither of the concepts involved are entirely new, the plan for the two North Hykeham landfills is unique in that the fertilizer may be used for an onsite crop, reducing the need for shipping and making use of landfill space.

The lagoons are anything but certain. Waste Recycling Group had two similar projects rejected recently, while these remaining two will undergo thorough odor and health assessments before being approved by county planners.

Waste Recycling Group has successfully built one leachate lagoon at another landfill in Welbeck, but instead of processing the substance into fertilizer, it is pumped into the sewer system to be treated.

Photo Credit: ibjorn on Flickr under Creative Commons license.