Opportunities for Energy Production from Solid Waste in the Mexicali Region

Smith, C., University of Utah
Whitty, K., University of Utah
Quintero, M., Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
Benitez, S. O., Universidad Autónoma de Baja California

The Mexicali border region covers an area of roughly 10,700 square miles (28,000 km2), and is home to over 1 million inhabitants, most of who live in the city of Mexicali, Mexico. In this region the generation of solid waste has been increasing, especially in urban areas, as characterized by accelerated demographic growth. This presents a problem of handling and final disposal; the waste could be used for energy production while reducing the size of landfills. The objective of this study is to look at the potential of converting this solid waste into useful forms of energy by means of incineration, gasification, or land filling with methane capture. This will be achieved through a series of tasks including surveys of the Mexicali region and characterization of municipal waste samples taken from different socioeconomic areas over the course of 1 year. The methodology and approach are described, as well as sample characterization and analysis.