Dong Energy to open ‘world’s first’ enzyme waste treatment plant next year

Denmark-headquarted energy specialist Dong Energy has announced that it will be opening its REnescience Northwich facility next year – a facility using innovative enzyme technology to separate household waste from recyclable materials and generate energy at the same time.

Dong days the plant will be the first full-scale bio plant in the world capable of handling household waste through enzymes, mechanical sorting and anaerobic digestion, adding that the technology also captures organic materials and can help to increase recycling rates by extracting clean materials such as plastic bottles.

According to news channel Resource Magazine, following  ten years of testing and operation of a scale demonstration in Denmark, construction on the plant in Northwich in Cheshire begun earlier this year, with operation due to start in in April 2017. Initial commissioning has already begun and the first waste will arrive at the site in February 2017.

Non-food short rotation energy crops

The plant will use Dong Energy’s REnescience technology, based on enzymes – biological catalysts made up of proteins – to break down household waste.  Organic waste is mixed in a giant reactor with water and the enzymes, which dissolve it into a liquid that can be used as biogas to generate electricity.

The remaining part of the waste is plastic and metals, which can be recycled, and Dong said the digestate by-product of the process can be used as a top-soil to fertilise non-food short rotation energy crops.

The plant will be able to treat around 15 tonnes of household waste per hour or up to 120,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to the waste from approximately 110,000 homes. Once operational, the site will generate approximately five megawatts of renewable power as well as producing recyclable material.

Household, municipal and some non-hazardous commercial waste from the North of England and North Midlands will be processed at the facility and will be supplied by FFC Environment.

Alister Veitch, head of UK sales at Dong Energy, said: “The patented technology converts waste into energy without combustion, as well as extracting valuable recyclable materials, which is an entirely new way of treating household waste.”

Lars Kruse, head of global sales at Dong Energy, added: “The facility has been designed in such a way that it’s been possible to scale up or scale down, and it’s easily transferable across the world.

“Although Dong Energy is very well established in wind energy, this project in waste is not just a first for them, but a global first, so I still feel the buzz of a start-up whilst being supported by the great reputation of the company.”


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