A project involving the U.S. Department of Energy and Florida researchers has shown that pipeline quality gas —95 percent methane-can be produced from solid waste. The study project near Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., is at the Community Waste Research Facility — a part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Researchers from the DOE's Solar Energy Research Institute, the Gas Research Institute, the Institute of Gas Technology, the University of Florida and Walt Disney Imagineering have discovered the technology is compatible with many solid waste systems. It also reduces the cost of producing methane from refuse and industrial organic waste.
The method uses anaerobic digestion to convert solid wastes to methane and carbon dioxide. Gas that is about 55 percent methane and 45 percent carbon dioxide is produced. Although used nationwide for agricultural, industrial and domestic waste, the Disney test proved methane production on a large scale works well enough to supply energy producers.