Economy of size is the key. What was the size of the California landfills and how many cubic feet of methane do they produce? The Shoals area landfills may be too small to justify developing to run vehicles or run electricity generating plants, but may be large enough to produce saleable gas.
bluesman,
I am by no means an expert, but I was involved a few years ago in a project where a landfill was to be used. According to what I was told the landfill in Colbert county is really a landfill that utilizes "inert" material, like old building supplies and no household garbage, like the county landfill in Lauderdale. These types of landfills do not generate a lot of methane, although the closed cells of them do have vents with monitors in case there is a bubble of it. Large ladfills with household type of trash, where decomposition is more prevelant are the types which generate significant amounts of methane. Also types of animal waste, such as cow manure, can be used as well. I saw a program recently where a large dairy farm in the Midwest powers the entire operation off of methane generated from the decomp of cow manure.
My guess is that the local landfills cannot produce any significant amounts of methane due to the type of landfills which they are and the rather small size of the complexes.

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