Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Methane lights up Payatas dump

By Perseus Echeminada -The Philippine Star

Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. switched on yesterday the perimeter lights powered by a 100-KW pilot methane plant at the Payatas controlled dump facility, the first landfill facility to generate electricity in the country.

Under The Payatas Gas to Power Generation project, methane gas produced by decomposing garbage deposited at the dump are collected and converted into electricity through the Pilot Methane Power Plant.

Col. Jameel Jaymalin, Payatas operations group chief, said electrical distribution lines were installed around the 12-hectare disposal facility.

"The ceremonial switching of lights by Mayor Belmonte highlights the significance of this clean and renewable source of energy," Jaymalin said.

The pilot plant was a result of the study on the extraction and commercial utilization of methane gas from the dump undertaken by the Philippine National Oil Company- Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) under a memorandum of agreement with the Quezon City government in 2002.

The PNOC-EC study revealed that the dump could produce sufficient gas for the next 10 years, enough to provide power to the Payatas community.

A project that will extract and collect landfill gas will soon be undertaken in order to clean the environment and ensure the safety of the disposal facility. Once implemented, the project can qualify as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto protocol.

During the initial launching of the project in 2004, Belmonte said the project would benefit poor residents. Each scavenger family earns only P250 to P300 a day.

The Quezon City government has gained national acclaim as the first urban center to implement the Solid Waste Management Act, by pioneering the conversion of the Payatas open dump into a controlled facility.

The extraction of the methane is aimed at containing the gas buildup and preventing future accidents in the area as methane is a highly combustible gas.

But the PNOC found out that there is enough gas to generate electricity within the area, so the city government decided to tap the energy.

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