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Buenos Aires Landfill Leads Latin America in Turning Methane Into Power

As COP26 redoubles efforts against the gas, a new plant tackles plume visible from space

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WATCH: This landfill in Buenos Aires is creating energy through captured methane, setting the city apart from others in South America.

Source: QuickTake

Trucks arrive at the brown hill like an army of ants, then crawl up, whipping dust into the sky before dumping trash unceremoniously at the top. What happens later sets the Buenos Aires landfill apart from most others in South America: Planet-warming methane leaking from the trash is turned into power.

Norte III — a 1,200-acre site whose garbage hills draw the eye in table-flat Buenos Aires — recently activated a new power station that runs on gas piped from under the hill through tree-trunk-sized black tubes. The five megawatts generated by landfill operator Ceamse may be enough to run only several thousand homes, but they represent a victory in a global campaign against methane that’s gathering momentum at the United Nations climate summit in Scotland.