FlexEnergy featured in New York Times green blog

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Burning natural gas releases less heat-trapping carbon dioxide then burning coal does because it has only about half as much carbon per unit of energy. But it can exacerbate global warming if it escapes unburned into the atmosphere as methane; in a century, a methane molecule will trap as much heat as 21 carbon dioxide molecules would.
The easy solution is simply to burn the methane. But some sources emit methane at concentrations too low to burn. What then?
And even when the concentration is high enough for conventional burning, burning methane creates temperatures high enough to break up nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere and marry them to oxygen, creating nitrogen oxides, a precursor of smog.
FlexEnergy, a company in Irvine, Calif., has developed a new way to use gas at low methane concentrations, a process it has been trying out on landfill gas at Fort Benning in Georgia.  

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