of the big things that happened in the UK with the clean air
legislation in the 1950s was that people stopped burning their
rubbish, and putting the ash that was left in a "dustbin".
This cleaned up the air, removing the smog which afflicted
many cities, but meant a massive increase in land fill, and
the UK is now running out of land to fill.
I am unsure how much of a problem this is
in other countries, but recycling and high temperature incineration
is now beginning to reduce the need for land fill. However,
there are many existing, now covered and landscaped, old land-fill
What scope is there for use of even early,
crude nanotech for cleanly and safely extracting the resources
from these sites?
Would the same techniques be used as on slag
heaps or mining spoil heaps, which will contain many valuable
Could the fact that there is a lot of carbon
in land-fill be put to use? Some of this is an existing problem
in the form of methane.
Would cooling systems need to be installed
to handle the heat generated in the clean up operation? Undisturbed
land-fill can have over-heating problems.
Would some sort of fuel or other energy source
be sensibly needed, assuming you don't want to generate a
lot of carbon dioxide, or iron oxide?
Would it be sensible to plan on the underground
area ending up as excavated, presumably with a reinforced
roof and supports? Conversion of land fill sites into underground
Some areas contain a lot of water in their
land-fill, and care is needed to prevent contamination of
surface and ground water. How will this affect things?
Land-fill can be very heterogeneous, and might
this restrict the use of specialised nanotech?
Copyright © 2004 Rory McLean