Drone monitoring rubbish.

COP21: Drone to monitor rubbish dump gases

An experimental drone fitted with sensors is being deployed to monitor gases rising from rubbish dumps.

The unmanned aircraft is being flown above Britain’s 200 landfill sites to study a major source of UK emissions.

The latest estimate is that unwanted food produces 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gas in the UK every year.

Although the number of landfill sites is being reduced, the emissions from decomposing matter are set to last for decades.

The drone project is being run by the University of Manchester and the Environment Agency (EA).

According to Doug Wilson, the EA’s Director of Scientific & Evidence Services, the research is driven by the need to find an easy way to monitor a long-term problem.

“It’ll allow us to get a better understanding of the emissions from a particular site.

“There are 830,000 tonnes of methane from the waste sector and methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,”

“The more we can understand how to reduce those emissions, the more useful and positive it will be.”

One of the venues for the first test flights is a landfill site at Pilsworth near Manchester which has been closed and is now awaiting restoration by its operators Viridor.

Some of the methane emitted from the site is collected and then piped to a small power station nearby – but an unknown amount rises into the atmosphere.

Image captionThe drones should enable a better understanding of the emissions from a particular site

I watched as the drone’s gas monitoring sensor was checked before the aircraft was launched by catapult for a 20-minute flight around the boundaries of the site.

Dr Peter Hollingworth of the University of Manchester said that the concept had been proved with data successfully gathered about carbon dioxide emissions and calculations made to understand the methane levels too.

“Ideally what we’re getting to is an autonomous flight – and you’d come out to a site with a smaller aircraft than this one, or with two or three of them, and fly them at different points on the site and measure the incoming flow and the outgoing flow.

“A team could then – in a day or so – quantify exactly what that site is emitting.”

This project comes amid a growing awareness of the financial and carbon cost of food waste – with a major campaign led by the chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Liz Goodwin of the recycling charity WRAP says that the emissions from old food mean there is a tangible connection between everyday life for a typical household and the negotiations on curbing greenhouse gases at the UN summit in Paris starting next week.

“I find it very shocking,” she told me.

“Not only is it costing the average family with children £60 a month but the 4.2 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten, a lot of it ends up in landfill where it basically just rots and gives off greenhouse gas emissions.”

One statistic produced by WRAP’s researchers is that the equivalent of 86 million chickens is thrown away in the UK every year – either as whole birds or parts of poultry.

WRAP estimates that the waste chicken alone contributes about 690,000 of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a year – assuming the carbon costs of the raising, feeding and transporting the birds are included, as well as the release of gases if they are dumped in landfill.

That total is roughly the same as the emissions from 290,000 cars per year.

To understand more about food’s role in emissions, we asked researchers to examine what happens during the decomposition of a fresh chicken.

At the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, Dr Jillian Newton kept a chicken under heat lamps for the course of a week.

Our timelapse camera captured the sight of the bird darkening and then going through a period of rapid swelling as gases formed and expanded inside the chicken.

Dr Newton calculated that the 1.2kg chicken produced 31.2 litres of biogas – which would contain 79.8g of methane and carbon dioxide.

“When food is thrown away and discarded it goes through different states of decomposition,” she said.

“Every piece of organic food that we throw away will essentially produce methane – some pieces of food may take longer, some may produce gas more quickly.

“And, depending on where it’s been thrown, if it’s somewhere where a lot of bacteria can get to it, it’ll produce methane quicker.”

To help reduce emissions – and to turn waste into a useful resource – a growing proportion is diverted from landfill into projects that generate electricity.

The waste firm Viridor runs two different types of plant that use waste to power turbines – anaerobic digesters that trap methane and incinerators that use waste as a source of fuel.

Dan Cooke of Virodor said: “Any food waste – whether it’s leftover food or food that’s gone off – it’s important that people put that in the right bin.

“We can take that material and squeeze the energy out of it so that people, by recycling their food waste, are actually helping keep the lights on.”

Many landfill sites are due to close but, even when they do, they will leave a legacy: gases will continue to seep out of them for decades to come.

Follow David on Twitter.


807 thoughts on “Drone monitoring rubbish.”

  1. Pingback: tom caruso hulk
  2. Pingback: bouton pour blazer
  3. Pingback: oleo para cabelo
  4. Pingback: eagles jersey men
  5. Pingback: oferta sarev sklep
  6. Pingback: lacet plat bleu
  7. Pingback: jordan 8 gold
  8. Pingback: vender ferro
  9. Pingback: gutschein alba
  10. Pingback: reebok black
  11. Pingback: rams gifts jersey
  12. Pingback: bbb sedla
  13. Pingback: Yeezy 350
  14. Pingback: tommy icon
  15. Pingback: puma suit
  16. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy
  17. Pingback: Yeezy 700
  18. Pingback: Yeezy 380
  19. Pingback: vacaciones baratas
  20. Pingback: MLB Jerseys
  21. Pingback: lunette essayage
  22. Pingback: Cheap NBA Jerseys
  23. Pingback: coin copridivano
  24. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Jersey
  25. Pingback: puma luxury shoes
  26. Pingback: Nike Shoes
  27. Pingback: Yeezy Supply
  28. Pingback: Yeezy
  29. Pingback: Air Force 1
  30. Pingback: Yeezy Shoes
  31. Pingback: coussin d茅co
  32. Pingback: NFL Jerseys
  33. Pingback: Bijoux Pandora
  34. Pingback: plafoniere moderni
  35. Pingback: levitra vs cialis
  36. Pingback: ammepude cam cam
  37. Pingback: goodrx cialis
  38. Pingback: Generic viagra usa
  39. Pingback: fekete converse
  40. Pingback: felpa bordo
  41. Pingback: buy cialis generic
  42. Pingback: 50mg viagra
  43. Pingback: ciprofloxacin otc
  44. Pingback: desert boot sizing
  45. Pingback: Nike Air Max 270
  46. Pingback: Nike Air Max 97
  47. Pingback: maison scotch jas
  48. Pingback: tenue footing
  49. Pingback: masque venitien
  50. Pingback: cialis discount
  51. Pingback: Nike Outlet
  52. Pingback: markt preis
  53. Pingback: cialis on line
  54. Pingback: cialis for sale
  55. Pingback: rent lv bag for 60
  56. Pingback: careprost cost
  57. Pingback: taska do kocarku
  58. Pingback: chloroquine virus
  59. Pingback: 蟽魏喂伪蟽畏
  60. Pingback: Nike Outlet Store
  61. Pingback: smart tv 40 valor
  62. Pingback: viagra for sale
  63. Pingback: p氓slakan traktor
  64. Pingback: viagra generic
  65. Pingback: naisten laukkuja
  66. Pingback: best epilator
  67. Pingback: Pandora Outlet
  68. Pingback: ulja za rast kose
  69. Pingback: Human Races
  70. Pingback: bluze online
  71. Pingback: NBA Jerseys
  72. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy
  73. Pingback: MLB Shop
  74. Pingback: tenue basique
  75. Pingback: Air Force 1
  76. Pingback: Human Races
  77. Pingback: Yeezys
  78. Pingback: Yeezy
  79. Pingback: sede tenisky
  80. Pingback: lenceria bikini
  81. Pingback: cazal sunglasses
  82. Pingback: d谩msk茅 blejzry
  83. Pingback: asics 2000 3
  84. Pingback: Yeezy Shoes
  85. Pingback: order cialis
  86. Pingback: lighting systems
  87. Pingback: Yeezy Mafia
  88. Pingback: air max 90 soldes
  89. Pingback: czarne nb damskie
  90. Pingback: Yeezy 380
  91. Pingback: tour sonore
  92. Pingback: womens blue ac sht
  93. Pingback: pet puppy toy
  94. Pingback: canadian pharmacy
  95. Pingback: Real cialis online
  96. Pingback: vardenafil generic
  97. Pingback: za ja膷anje kose
  98. Pingback: vardenafil online
  99. Pingback: aktion rabatt
  100. Pingback: levitra pill
  101. Pingback: babyschuhe 21
  102. Pingback: buy cialis
  103. Pingback: peignoir asiatique
  104. Pingback: MLB Jerseys
  105. Pingback: slots online
  106. Pingback: slot machines
  107. Pingback: ausziehbett kaufen
  108. Pingback: m盲dchen pirat
  109. Pingback: cash payday
  110. Pingback: installment loans
  111. Pingback: AJ 1
  112. Pingback: Yeezy
  113. Pingback: Jordan 11
  114. Pingback: viagra pills
  115. Pingback: Air Jordan 1
  116. Pingback: Pandora
  117. Pingback: Yeezy Boost 350 V2
  118. Pingback: cialis 20
  119. Pingback: Air Jordan 1
  120. Pingback: Jordan Retro 4
  121. Pingback: craps for macs
  122. Pingback: slot machine games
  123. Pingback: cialis generic
  124. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy
  125. Pingback: Yeezy Shoes
  126. Pingback: generic for cialis
  127. Pingback: Yeezy 350
  128. Pingback: cialis buy
  129. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy
  130. Pingback: 20 cialis
  131. Pingback: Uggs Official Site
  132. Pingback: Nike Shoes
  133. Pingback: online gambling
  134. Pingback: NBA Jerseys
  135. Pingback: slot games
  136. Pingback: real casino
  137. Pingback: what is viagra
  138. Pingback: generic sildenafil
  139. Pingback: order viagra
  140. Pingback: sildenafil
  141. Pingback: viagra connect
  142. Pingback: cialis pill
  143. Pingback: viagra samples
  144. Pingback: buy cialis online
  145. Pingback: buy viagra uk
  146. Pingback: buy cialis generic
  147. Pingback: casinos online
  148. Pingback: casino slot