EnviroCitizen.org’s simple answer to this question is "yes". Yes, you can fuel your car from things found in a landfill. However, whether you should is an entirely different question. Biofuels are made from many things that are typically put in landfills such organic waste—dead trees, branches, yard clippings, crops, wood chips, sawdust, banana peels, manure, etc. While objects that will later become biofuel, such as grasses, plants, fruits, etc., are alive they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. The main problem later on is that once this organic waste is incinerated, the carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere. When incinerated, biomass also produces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Despite this fact, many countries are implementing the use of biofuels—countries in Europe and Asia, Brazil, and the United States—as a means of managing this waste.
Landfills in general are sources of many gases, including methane, that have the potential to create biofuels. Supporters of harvesting landfill gas (LFG) note that, if it is not harvested, landfill gas enters the atmosphere. Methane is particularly dangerous as far as global warming is concerned because it is a greenhouse gas that is far more capable of emitting radiation than carbon dioxide. Supporters conclude that instead of allowing these gases to enter the atmosphere, burning them to create energy reduces global warming potential along with our reliance on conventional forms of energy.
One project that is being undertaken now will exemplify how landfill power can generate energy for almost one thousand homes while reducing carbon emissions. This project will eliminate more than three-thousand tons of methane and eight tons of carbon dioxide annually! Supporters of this project liken these numbers to removing twelve-thousand cars from the roads or planting fifteen-thousand trees.
One reason why biofuels are getting so much attention is that consumers can use biofuels in any existing vehicle with a diesel engine! Most diesel-powered vehicles can use up to a fifteen-percent blend of biodiesel, so you don’t need to buy a new car in order to take advantage of biofuels.
Those who oppose biofuels point out several problems with biofuel, such as the 'food vs. fuel' debate. They argue that it doesn’t make sense to grow crops only to use them as a source of energy when millions of people are starving every day. The other major issue is that when a crop becomes an energy commodity, like for example corn, it drives up the price of edible corn. Other debated problems include carbon emissions, deforestation, soil erosion and decreased water quality. There are many opinions on both sides of the biofuel debate. EnviroCitizen.org believes that everyone should form their own educated decision regarding whether or not we should begin turning primarily to biofuels.