World’s first bio plant for handling unsorted household waste without prior treatment

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REnescience bio plant in Northwich (Foto: DONG Energy)

Fredericia, Denmark – DONG Energy has decided to build the world’s first plant for handling unsorted household waste without prior treatment, by means of enzymes. The ground-breaking technology, REnescience, has been developed by DONG Energy and tested at a demonstration plant in Copenhagen since 2009. The new plant, the first commercial full-scale plant, will be built in Northwich near Manchester and will ensure that a larger part of UK waste will be recycled and converted into biogas.

Entirely new: REnescience biotechnology

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President, DONG Energy, explained: „The decision to build the first plant is a very important step in our roll-out of the REnescience biotechnology. This is an entirely new way of treating household waste where we very effectively can ensure that we get as many resources as possible from our waste.“ The plant will have an annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes of waste, corresponding to the waste from almost 110,000 households. The waste will be supplied by the UK waste management company FCC Environment, which already collects household waste in the region.

Richard Belfield, Group Development Director, FCC Environment, underlined: “This is an exciting new technology for the disposal of municipal residual waste which is potentially set to revolutionize our thinking as an industry of what can be achieved. Not only does this technology convert waste into energy without the need for the combustion of the waste, it will for the first time, be able to extract the valuable recyclable materials which so far have been difficult if not out of reach in traditional municipal residual waste treatment processes.”

Ready for commissioning in early 2017

The design and planning of the plant in Northwich have been completed, and the majority of the supply and installation contracts have been concluded. DONG Energy expects construction work to begin at the end of February 2016, and that the plant will be commissioned in early 2017.

„We look forward to having this first plant in operation. With the increasing requirements for waste recycling and the global need for making better use of our resources, we need technologies such as REnescience that can handle our waste in a much smarter manner,“ said Thomas Dalsgaard.

Unsorted and enzyme treated

The REnescience plant in Northwich will be able to receive unsorted household waste, which – through enzyme treatment – will be converted into, among other things, a considerable amount of biogas as well as recyclable plastics and metals. The biogas is converted to green power via gas engines.

Today’s waste handling systems often rely on old fashioned methods for separating MSW. They require households to sort waste into different bins for organic waste and plastic, metal, glass etc., which again requires the waste collectors to transport the different waste separately.

REnescience sorts waste much more effectively than individuals. It sorts out the non-degradable parts (glass, wood, plastic, metals etc.) and produce 4 to 5 times the amount of biogas from the biodegradable parts (food and paper waste) compared to sorting systems handled by individuals.

Source: DONG Energy A/S