#Environment: World’s Largest Waste-to-Biogas Conversion Plant to open in the UK

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The grand opening of the world’s largest waste-to-biogas conversion plant is set to open next spring in the UK. The project is run by a Danish energy company, Dong Energy, and the REnescience plant. The company plans to use enhanced enzyme tech to manage national waste. Its energy conversion process begins by sorting out organic matter such as paper and foods from other wastes, then “washing” out the contaminants in a giant reactor, using enzymes.
Thomas Schrøder, a bio-refining vice-president for Novozymes, which developed the enzymes says that, “The enzymes remove all the organic compounds in the waste material and dissolve them so that, after washing, they come out as slurry, full of fats and oils, that can be transformed to biogas,”
Other waste products as plastics and glass will be taken away, whilst any non-recyclable materials as wood and textiles, will be incinerated.
An assessment of about 15 tonnes waste per hour – 120,000 tonnes a year will be sorted at the plant and used to produce 5MW of renewable energy, which in turn would be used to power nearly 10,000 homes.
Thrilling as the REnescience solution may sound, some environmentalists fear that the green dream of a “circular economy” could be damaged. Only a minor part of its mixed waste will be recycled .The organic remains from the process cannot be safely spread on land, and will be taken to the incinerators or other combustion processes, and eventually landfills. Burning of these remnants remains a big problem in the circular economy perspective. There are much better solutions that could be applied.”
Thomas Dalsgaard, an executive vice-president for Dong argues that their company is already working on different ways to improve the technology’s recycling rates, and expects big developments in the years ahead. For now, he says, “the truly new feature of REnescience is the efficiency by which it captures the organic part of the waste, ensuring much higher green gas yields than from source sorting.”
Flemming Kanstrup, project director for REnescience Northwich, said: “The sky is the limit. This technology will be applicable anywhere in the world where you have a lot of unsorted municipal wastes with a high organic content.”
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