A new technology that uses enzymes to create a bioliquid from the organic matter in municipal solid waste (MSW), as well as the separation of recyclable materials, has completed 10,000 hours of service at its demonstration plant and has now been declared “ready for the market” by the company’s behind its development.
DONG Energy’s REnescience demonstration plant, located at the Amager Resource Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark, can process 8,000 tonnes per annum, at a rate of one tonne per hour, but the full scale REnescience plant would be able to process 10 times that amount. The demonstrator has completed 10,000 hours in service and, in an event that took place earlier this week, it was officially launched onto the market, and the team behind the technology told CIWM, present at the launch, that it hoped the first full-scale plant would be in operation “this year”.
The technology treats unsorted MSW by heating it, although not to the levels of an anaerobic digestion plant, but to just 50˚C. It is not shredded prior to being heated and mixed with water, meaning that the enzymes that are then added to the waste are able to generate greater energy from the organic fraction.
The enzymes take around 18 hours to react with the waste – in the case of the demonstration plant in a 14m long REnescience Reactor, again at a controlled 50˚C temperature. The bioliquid created from this process is then separated from the recyclable materials – such as metals and plastics – courtesy of a ballistic separator, leaving the operator with a high quality bioliquid (with a reported yield of 130-170Nm3 biogas per tonne), the recyclable materials and, from the remaining resources, it can create a high calorific refuse derived fuel (RDF).
It may be based in Denmark, but DONG Energy says it is already in discussions with potential partners worldwide. “We’re experiencing a growing interest in the Netherlands and the UK, but also in China, the USA and the Middle East, there is an interest and a market potential for this technology,” said Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President of DONG Energy.
But he added that he would like the first full-scale plant to be built in Denmark: “It would be a global showcase creating a demand for Danish know-how and competences to develop and construct similar plants.”
Together with the municipalities of Fredericia, Kolding and Middelfart, DONG Energy has already begun looking at the possibility of constructing a full-scale plant that would be able to handle the waste of up to 170,000 households.
A more detailed report on the DONG Energy / REnescience technology and demonstration plant will feature in the March issue of the CIWM Journal.