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Affordable technologies for utilization of methane in a landfill environment: An example of an integrated technology array and evolving institutional networks

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CARIBELATE, the Caribbean Environmental Laboratory for the Advancement of Technological Entrepreneurship is an evolving institutional concept, as well as a physical complex, that provides a dynamic environment for public, academic and private sector organizations to conduct proof of concept technology demonstrations in a landfill environment. This article traces the successful networking of demonstrations at a landfill in New Jersey and the subsequent design of the CARIBELATE project in the Municipality of Carolina, Puerto Rico. The institutional model developed for the Puerto Rico facility has brought together an unlikely combination of stakeholders. Those from the private sector, here called industrial partners, are paired with academic researchers to optimize products for local markets. The basic technology system demonstrated in New Jersey and to be replicated in Puerto Rico removes harmful contaminants from landfill gas and in so doing produces a variety of useful products. A portion of the landfill gas is utilized for micro-turbine electricity generation and for heating a demonstration greenhouse that houses aquaculture coupled with hydroponic crop production, where aquaculture effluents are recycled as plant nutrients. A strict protocol to verify emission reduction is imposed on all the demonstrations at the CARIBELATE project. Although greenhouse gas credit verification is not the prime mission, it is suggested that the credits verified from these demonstrations are of high quality, and can serve as an excellent training platform. CARIBELATE is conceived to be operated at the municipal level and contribute to income generation and economic development. The continuing networking of stakeholders from the public and private sectors offers some potential guidance for replicating this design in the developing world.
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Keywords: Aquaponics; Greenhouse gas credits; Landfill-gas-to-energy; Sustainable development; Technology networking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), New York, NY. 2: Department of Plant Biology and Plant Pathology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, NJ.

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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