Cleantech
World’s First Full-Scale Bio Plant Will Sort Waste from 110,000 Homes Annually

Danish cleantech company DONG Energy is constructing the world’s first full-scale bio plant capable of handling household waste by means of enzymes. The REnescience plant in Northwich, in the North West of England, will be able to sort 15 tonnes of waste per hour or 120,000 tonnes per year – equivalent to the amount of waste from almost 110,000 homes in the United Kingdom (UK).

The company recently announced that biological solutions provider Novozymes will deliver enzymes for the plant, through a long-term non-exclusive supply agreement.

DONG Energy claims that the process ensures that as much of the waste as possible is recycled and converted into biogas to be used for green power, rather than the unsorted waste ending up in landfill sites. Thus, the company asserts that the plant will both divert waste from landfill sites and help the UK achieve its ambitious recycling targets.

“Waste is a major problem for many urban areas around the world, but this technology turns the problem into a resource. Biorefineries like this, where trash is transformed into value, is an excellent example of circular economy in practice,” said Thomas Schrøder, a Vice President at Novozymes.

Novozymes and DONG Energy have also agreed to further develop the enzymes for the technology together.

The Northwich plant is expected to be operational in early 2017. DONG Energy is financing, building and operating the facility and plans to look into opportunities for similar plants in other places around the world. The company sees large potential for its REnescience technology in Malaysia, as well as in other Asian countries.

According to Lars Chr. Lilleholt, the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate, bioenergy already accounts for approximately 70 percent of renewable energy consumption in Denmark, where DONG Energy is based. While straw and wood are widely used, renewable wastes from agriculture, breweries, waste treatment, and other sources are being explored both in Denmark and abroad. For example, Heineken recently completed the world’s first zero-carbon brewery in Austria, which uses spent grains as biofuel.

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