Posted on 8th November 2017
This article comes from the newsletter of the Sustainable Business Partnership….
The U.K. might soon be powering its lights with energy that comes from the trash.
A Danish energy company is working on new machines that sort household trash from recycling, while rapidly breaking down organic materials like food to create power from biogas produced by the process.
Dong Energy A/S, which runs hundreds of wind turbines in the North Sea, says its plant 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside of Manchester is one of the first to use enzymes on an entire waste stream and then combine it with recycling sorting technology. That would be particularly helpful in cities where space is at a premium and small apartments often have room for only one trash bin.
The process “is a useful option for local authorities and waste companies that have not yet rolled out separate food waste collections,” said Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association.
Dong, which is changing its name to Oersted, says its “Renescience” plant in Northwich will be finished at the end of this year at a cost of 600 million krone ($95 million). It will help deal with Britain’s mountains of waste, about a quarter of which goes to landfill dumps, where it releases the potent greenhouse gas methane as it rots.
“If everything goes well, this is going to be a big showcase that people will come to from all over the world to see,” Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president of thermal power and bioenergy at Dong, said in an interview at the plant.
The Renescience process starts with a giant claw that crunches into a mountain of trash and it ends with seven different types of material—from plastics to metals and biogas, that can be used to create electricity, recycled or sold on to a scrap yard. Nothing goes to landfill.
The Renescience process.
Step 1: A giant claw crunches into a mountain of trash.
Step 2: The trash is cleaned with enzymes for 12 hours.
Step 3: The resulting organic matter “slurry” goes to an anaerobic digestion plant, where it can be used to create electricity.
Step 4: The leftover materials, now clean and reusable, are sorted into various categories such as ferrous metals (pictured) and plastic.
Renescience enzymes, like those found in washing powder, clean trash for 12-hours in tanks 50 meters (164 feet) long, speeding up the decomposition process and taking organic materials to an anaerobic digestion plant where it’s used to create electricity.
Anything that’s left is sorted through a series of ballistic separators, conveyor belts, magnets and shredders to give the finished clean and reusable products. While some leftovers from the process are currently incinerated, Dalsgaard said that will stop by 2020.
“You can be lazy and have a good conscience with Renescience, and you can also solve an issue about space and we can solve whatever residuals would be from household sourcing,” he said.
In fact, he reckons Renescience is better than home sorting because any waste food, like ketchup at the bottom of a plastic bottle is turned into electricity rather than washed away.
If the technology proves a success, Dong has plans to develop a series of plants across the U.K., Europe and the world, including Malaysia. Britain was the ideal place to start because filling landfills with mountains trash are getting more expensive.
Crucially, the biogas that drives the engines can create a steady flow of power to back up intermittent electricity generated by wind and solar. That could provide an alternative to plans for costly new nuclear power stations like the once being built at Hinkley Point.
“We would argue that offshore wind in a country like this is very close to being baseload, so combined with decentralized generation in multiple sites and storage, it could be a cost effective alternative to nuclear,” he said.
"The BHBPA is an energetic and vocal organisation that connects and empowers and informs the local business community acting as an effective conduit to local authority and other organisations. We are proud to be part of that community and the association."
"“I can’t speak highly enough of the BHBPA. As a small local business we feel very much part of a community and thoroughly enjoy the annual exhibition and meetings throughout the year. Over the years we have built fantastic working relationships with many BHBPA members and every meeting and event offers us opportunities to work with more. This is networking at its best! ” "
"If Carlsberg did networking they would do it the BHBPA way. Each event is packed with great ideas, thought provoking presentations and fun. As a small business we feel supported and part of the community. We have built friendships and business relationships and there is always plenty of advice on hand to benefit us all so don’t hesitate to join whatever the nature of your business. "
"I am delighted to have a long-standing relationship with the BHBPA. Since its foundation the Association has gone from strength to strength and there is no doubt that it has brought huge benefits to its members and the business community as a whole through the partnerships it has formed with the local authorities, Sussex Police and local organisations. It is paramount that Burgess Hill businesses have an effective collective voice."