How does solar on capped landfills work?

July 15, 2019

Modern landfills, whether they are privately owned for-profit entities or operated by local, federal or state governments, are government-regulated, highly controlled environments. Measures are taken to prevent precipitation from seeping through the waste and contaminating the water supply, odors must be controlled, waste containing certain toxins needs to be kept out and gas buildup can become an issue. In 2013, the EPA estimated there were approximately 1,908 municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLFs) in the continental United States that are managed by the states where they are located. In order to prevent landfill waste from migrating into the environment and potentially causing harm, an engineered landfill “cap” is installed to create a protective barrier between the waste in the landfill and the surrounding area. A capped landfill can no longer receive waste, and it must be maintained and monitored for a number of years. Capped landfills are increasingly attractive locations for new solar power installations. This is an unsurprising trend, since the number of active landfills is decreasing, leaving state and local governments with significant unusable parcels of land. The EPA estimates there are as many as 7,400 closed landfills in the country.

Spotlight

Origin Energy

Origin is proudly Australia's leading integrated energy company – exploring, generating and delivering energy solutions locally and internationally. We deliver today's energy needs to more than 4 million electricity, natural gas and LPG customers, making us Australia's largest energy retailer.

OTHER ARTICLES
ENERGY

How viable is Underground Hydrogen Storage?

Article | December 23, 2021

Cleaner energy resources are the dire need of the hour and this is a known fact. While scientists and experts across the planet are striving hard to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, our energy needs have never faced a downfall- thanks to rapid industrialization and urbanization. Although renewable resources like solar, wind, and hydro-electric power are the most popular alternatives, these are seasonal energy sources and the energy production from the same will not be similar all around the year. The fluctuations in production hence cannot always meet the energy demand of the population, and this makes the renewable energy sources not completely reliable. Solar Production v/s Demand of the same in a year What and How H2 is produced? Now, this is where Hydrogen- the first element of the periodic table comes to the spotlight with a solution. Being a gas, hydrogen fuel can very well cater to our energy needs and is produced from techniques including Thermochemical, Solar-Water splitting, electrolytic and biological processes. While the production of this cleaner energy source leaves a carbon footprint of about 830 million tonnes in the form of CO2 annually, the result being a zero-emission fuel is what makes H2’s future bright. Storage of H2 – the million-dollar question: Having almost cleared the need and methods of producing hydrogen fuel, we will be looking at an area that is usually not given much thought about and that is the storage of H2. As already mentioned, for time being let us consider hydrogen as an alternative to renewable resources which is utilized when the energy demand increases drastically. While producing the fuel in the nick of time is obviously undoable, sufficient storage of H2 anticipating the demand is the best choice. Like Natural Gas, Hydrogen is also compressed before storing to achieve lower volume and also because liquid hydrogen demands a 64% higher amount of energy for storage than its compressed gaseous counterpart. Storage tanks v/s Geological landforms: Compressed Hydrogen can be stored in surface storage vessels (like steel composite concrete vessels and in wind turbine towers) or in geological landforms like (salt caverns, depleted O&G reservoirs, and aquifers). Nevertheless, unlike the underground geological landforms which offer huge storage capacity owing to their sheer scale, the storage tanks which can range in size from a small bottle to a huge tank require high amounts of pressure to store an appreciable amount of H2 in it. Since these storage tanks are usually constructed on the surface, the pressure conditions in these tanks need to be artificially stimulated and thereby mount huge upfront costs when compared to their geological storage counterpart. H2 storage prices in Geological Landforms v/s Storage Vessels (in $/kg) The above is a table comparing the prices of Hydrogen storage in Geological landforms and Storage Vessels at different pressure conditions. It is visible from the table that it's about 218 times cheaper to store the same amount of hydrogen in Geological landforms than in storage vessels. Is geological storage truly a better option? Like any other storage option geological storage too has its pros and cons. From the erosion of pipelines to the tedious task of injecting the gas and maintaining it at apt pressure conditions, geological storage has its limitations. However, the important prerequisite is the availability of the suitable landform itself. While most of the Depleted O&G Reservoirs have already met all the requirements for a suitable Underground Hydrogen Storage (UHS) system, the presence of unrecoverable remnant fluids in it makes it both a boon and a bane. This is because the presence of remnant fluids like oil and gas satisfies the cushion gas need for efficient storage of H2 in the reservoir, chances of contamination of H2 by the same is also high. This is the reason why Aquifers too aren’t favorable underground landforms when it comes to hydrogen storage. Salt Caverns- the best UHS System? The problem of Hydrogen contamination in Depleted Oil & Gas reservoirs and aquifers leaves us to the next big suitable subsurface landform- salt caverns. Unlike the other two landforms, the problem of contamination can be prevented in these dome-like structures formed due to the upliftment of salt deposits and it is also found that about 98% of its storage efficiency can be used to store Hydrogen here. The reason behind its relatively expensive nature when compared to its other two counterparts is due to the process of salt removing or leaching that must be done before storing to ensure that the contamination of the gas is unheard of at least here. Suitable Conditions of UHS: As per Stefan Iglauer, the maximum amount of H2 can be stored at a depth of 1100m beneath the Earth’s surface and the capacity gradually decreases up until 3700 m depth beyond which the wettability of the gas increases as it percolates through the rocks and hence cannot be permanently immobilized. Conclusively it is found that suitable landforms formed at 1km depth can store up to 2.0 Mt of H2. Comparing this 2 MT storage capacity of Salt Caverns with the currently available storage tanks which can store about 800 kg of H2 in it, it is visible that geological landforms have a clear upper hand at least when it comes to storage capacity. Future of UHS: With demands for Hydrogen fuel estimated to grow at 5.48 % annually and the need for a suitable storage system of the same at 5.8% annually, the field of Underground Hydrogen Storage systems indeed has a bright scope. Moreover, to meet the large-scale needs of Industries, there is an imminent need to level up the storage capacity of H2 and by exploring suitable geological landforms across the globe, the estimated industrial need of 1200 kT/ year in 2050 can be met.

Read More
SOLAR+STORAGE

Why Picking an Established and Credible Solar Installer Matters

Article | December 23, 2021

With the popularity of solar increasing across the country, the number of solar installers has been multiplying. Unfortunately, many fly-by-night companies with minimal installation experience or larger national firms with little market history are trying to capitalize on the industry’s growth. In addition, the sheer volume of installation partners that consumers have to choose from can result in a great deal of buyer confusion. More choices, more issues As the number of solar installers has gone up, so have complaints and issues related to providers and their service. Recently, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry reached terms with Empire Solar Group LLC’s trustees, a national solar installer that went bankrupt earlier this year, leaving 45 homeowners in Minnesota with projects in various levels of incompletion. Unfortunately, they’re not alone, as many other consumers have also fallen into precarious situations after companies using high-pressure sales tactics have been unable to deliver on the work. Michael Allen, CEO of All Energy Solar, says, “He’s angered that companies go out of business and face no fines.” Allen and other established industry leaders have done their best to help out customers caught in the middle of an installer’s bankruptcy issues, but there is only so much they can do. What protections do consumers have? In some cases, states have put into place protections for consumers; for example, in Minnesota, consumers stranded with uncompleted projects can get access to the state’s Contractor Recovery Fund, which receives money from licensing fees to help offset these costs. But that is of little comfort for those trying to determine what partner to choose for their project. The best bet When picking a solar installation partner, your best bet is to avoid those with high-pressure sales tactics, “too-good-to-be-true” pricing, or ones with little to no installation experience. Don’t simply trust the sales rep, do a little of your own research to see what other customers are saying. Looking for a record of successfully completed projects and businesses with state and national certifications can be another way to confirm credibility.

Read More

Geothermal Energy: How it Works and Stacks Up Against Coal

Article | April 16, 2020

To maintain the goals of the Paris Agreement and save the Earth from ecological breakdown, one of the most important things experts agree we need to do is transition to a renewable energy economy. While most of us may associate renewable energy with wind energy and solar energy, there are several other sources of clean energy that are growing in popularity. One such source is geothermal energy.

Read More
SOLAR+STORAGE

More Solar Ready To Help Power Pumping For SA Water

Article | April 29, 2021

SA Water’s electricity supply is about to become greener and cheaper again with the addition of another major solar power system, and an even bigger installation to soon follow. The utility says more 7,300 solar panels installed at the second pump station on its pipeline between Swan Reach and Stockwell are now connected and ready to go. “The Swan Reach to Stockwell Pipeline spans across more than 50 kilometres inland from the mighty Murray across to the northern Barossa area, and therefore requires significant energy to pump clean, safe drinking water across such large distances,” said SA Water’s Nicola Murphy While the total capacity of this new solar farm wasn’t provided, Ms. Murphy said it will generate approximately 5,224 megawatt hours of clean, green energy annually. There’s more solar energy to come for this section of pipeline, with a further 16,000 panels currently being connected at the first pump station.

Read More

Spotlight

Origin Energy

Origin is proudly Australia's leading integrated energy company – exploring, generating and delivering energy solutions locally and internationally. We deliver today's energy needs to more than 4 million electricity, natural gas and LPG customers, making us Australia's largest energy retailer.

Events