The sanitary landfill located in Huaycoloro (less than two hours from Lima), very close to the creek that bears the same name in the province of Huarochirí, there is ample space, where more than 5,900 tons of garbage arrive daily, amount that Today it is used to generate electricity.
Currently, Huaycoloro receives 63% of the more than 9,400 tons of garbage per day that is produced in Lima and Calleo. The rest goes to three other landfills located in Zapallal (Puente Piedra), Model in Callao and Portillo Grande, in Lurín.
The waste is covered with a layer of earth one meter thick forming slopes of garbage and earth. Underneath there are three floors of solid waste formed. With the remains of bottles, cardboard, and paper that Huaycoloro receives, they are buried, since the separation in the filling is not done, since they are already contaminated with the organic remains.
Compacted garbage generates gases, mainly methane, which is flammable and is produced naturally by the breakdown of organic waste from fruits, vegetables, meats and food in general.
Methane is captured by suction pools, then burned at 800 ° C and processed to produce electricity with the help of generator sets (machines). According to Petramás, a company in charge of the process of obtaining energy, biogas is capable of generating 240,000 kWh of energy per day and reaches the distribution network of Luz del Sur (one of the electricity companies in Lima), to supply this input to an average of 50 thousand inhabitants of the capital.
With this technology, the Huaycoloro landfill prevents 500 thousand tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year from going into the environment and contaminating it. The same methodology for conversion to electric power is being implemented in the Callao landfill this year, according to the company.
Fernando Jiménez, a mechanical engineer and coordinator of the energy area of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), stressed that renewable energy is used minimally in the country, due to the high costs for solar and wind energy projects. However, energy from garbage is economically profitable.
‘Renewable energy is available in the country. In the case of Lima, solar and wind energy is not attractive because we have several months of cloudiness and little wind, but what does exist in large quantities is solid waste due to the number of inhabitants that are more than 8 million’, explained the specialist.