Garbage is trashy, we get it. But not anymore.
Waste-to-energy is an innovative way to think about waste management and energy diversification. Ranjith Annepu, founder of the nonprofit ‘be Waste Wise,’ commented on how public perception of this energy source could be altered.
“I think change comes with new generations and increased availability of information and public dialogue,” Annepu said.
The following waste-to-energy facilities generate energy from municipal solid waste, the kind we throw away in our garbage cans every day. Not only are these power plants utilizing this resource, they’re doing it in style.
- Sysav South Scania waste-to-energy facility in Malmö, Sweden
This waste-to-energy plant is the most energy efficient plant in Sweden and one of the most carbon-friendly plants in Europe.
The plant creates electricity and heat with waste from 500,000 citizens, and it’s used to sort, store, and recycle waste. The facility processes household, commercial, and hazardous wastes.
- Waste-to-energy facility in Shenzhen, China
China plans to build the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant in the world, with construction set to end in 2020.
The facility will turn a third of Shenzhen’s trash into energy, processing 5,000 tons a day. The plant hopes to combat the large landfills and illegal dumps building up in the area.
The plant’s best feature is on-site renewable energy generation. Two-thirds of the facilities large rooftop will be covered in photovoltaic solar panels.
The facility will also feature a landscaped park and ramped walkway. The walkway offers visitors a look at the inside of the facility and access to a rooftop viewing platform.
- Spittelau Incineration Plant
Built in 1971, a fire ironically destroyed major sections of the plant in 1987. When it was rebuilt, the new Spittelau was designed by environmentalist and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser as a work of art.
The plant now stands as a Viennese landmark, featuring an abstractly painted building, golden ball on its chimney, and green roof. By providing district heating and electricity to Vienna, the plant heats more than 60,000 households a year.
- Waste-to-energy facility in Copenhagen, Denmark
If you ever take a trip to Copenhagen in the winter months, make sure to go skiing: on top of this waste-to-energy facility.
Due to finish construction in 2017, skiers at this site will be skiing on the roof of the energy plant. And that’s not all the facility features.
For every ton of CO2 burned, the power plant will emit a giant ring of steam into the sky. The smoke rings are a completely non-toxic representation of the toxic CO2 it emits.
This serves as a visible reminder of the plant’s environmental footprint and a tangible measurement of citizens’ waste habits. As citizens become more conscious of their waste habits and recycle, they will see less rings.