Landfills now have a use besides stinking up large areas of land. The South Korean government is working on a project to produce hydrogen from natural biogases (aka methane) produces in landfills.
The facility, which is being built by SK Engineering and Construction along with oil refiner SK Energy in Nanjido, will be the first to generate hydrogen from methane. When complete in November 2010, the station will pump out enough hydrogen to fuel two buses and two cars valued at $4 million with onboard hydrogen fuel cells. More importantly, the facility will produce 320 kilowatts of energy to generate electricity and hot water for a nearby art studio. So while hydrogen fuel cell technology is minor player compared to electric vehicle technology, the methane-to-hydrogen plant is still useful for heat and electricity-generating abilities.
The Korean government has been doing everything it can to transform Nanjido, which used to be Seoul’s official dump site. After stopping trash from accumulating in 1993, South Korea turned the island into an “ecology park” and started channeling methane into wells that heat up the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Of course, if Korea really wants to turn Nanjido into an ecology park, it should consider vaporizing its trash.