North West Wales

Landfill rubbish could provide untapped energy source

A pile of landfill Image copyright Thinkstock

Instead of being just rubbish, landfill sites could be an untapped source of energy, Bangor University researchers have found.

Biologists have identified enzymes that degrade natural materials such as paper and clothing at tips.

They believe these could be used help to produce biofuel.

In the past, these type of enzymes have been identified in the guts of plant-eaters such as sheep and cows, helping to break grass down.

But the research found landfill sites share many of the same characteristics as the digestive systems of these animals as they are dark, un-oxygenated spaces.

Researcher Emma Ransom-Jones said by working out how to speed up degradation of waste in landfill, sites could potentially find ways to use it for biofuel production.

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