Mexico City just shut down its enormous Bordo Poniente landfill, which has received 79 million tons of garbage on its 927 acres since 1994. But they’re not just leaving all that rotting organic matter to, well, rot. Instead, the city open a landfill gas power plant, which should be able to power 35,000 homes at its peak, reports Elizabeth Malkin in the New York Times.
Landfill gas is a mix of methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, and when burned in the Bordo Poniente plant, it will be able to produce 35.6 megawatts of power during the first five years of operation. The generating capacity will gradually diminish over time, as the anaerobic digestion of the landfill slowly winds down.
There are already more than 550 projects in the U.S. that use landfill gas to produce power, spread across 46 states and providing power to more than 1.6 million homes and businesses. The world’s largest is in Puente Hills in Whittier, Calif., which receives trash from (where else?) L.A.