Tag Archives: Denmark

Top 4 Waste to Energy Facilities

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-WTE
Photo by David Castor
  1. 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.

 

China_WTE
Visulalization of the future Waste-to-energy facility by Beauty & the Bit and Ginsun Design
  1. 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-WTE

  1. 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.

Copenhagen_WTE
Photo by Amager Resource Center
  1. 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.

 

Innovation in the Ocean

Climate change has cast a pall over the fate of our vast oceans. Failing fisheries, rising oceans, destroyed coral reefs and salinity change point towards a dim oceanic future. Innovations battling climate change however are using the ocean in hopes of halting some of these consequences.

Below is a list of innovations in oceans helping to reverse climate change or improve ocean ecosystems.

 

  1. The PowerBuoy 
A PowerBuoy floats in the ocean. Photograph by ThinkDefense.
A PowerBuoy floats in the ocean. Photograph by ThinkDefense.

The PowerBuoy is a renewable energy invention that harnesses the ocean’s energy.

The PowerBuoy runs off of marine hydrokinetic energy or MHK. MHK is a type of energy produced by harnessing the energy form the movement of waves, currents and tides.

In addition to producing renewable energy, the PowerBuoy is also environmentally friendly. The water device has no known detrimental effects on surrounding ocean environments.

A PowerBuoy is currently installed off the coast of New Jersey and provides offshore activities with safe, reliable electricity. The PowerBuoy’s current most applicable use is providing electricity to offshore power markets.

The PowerBuoy is built off of a scalable model, and can be installed in any convenient ocean location.

Renewable ocean energy is also an advantageous source of energy because 13% of the world’s urban population lives near coastlines.

Inventions that harness the energy of the ocean could help transform the sources of energy worldwide. Finding more sources of renewable energy can help stabilize the generation uncertainty of solar and wind power.

 

  1. Offshore Wind
Offshore wind turbines spin off the coast of Denmark. Photograph by Eskinder Debebe for the United Nations.
Offshore wind turbines spin off the coast of Denmark. Photograph by Eskinder Debebe for the United Nations.

The ocean serves as an excellent source for reliable, steady wind. While onshore wind in the United States is heavily popular, offshore wind around the globe is becoming increasingly feasible.

Offshore wind turbines can be installed in the ocean and use the steady, strong ocean wind to generate electricity. The spinning turbines generate energy, which is then transmitted to onshore locations.

Offshore wind in Europe is particularly popular. In the year 2014, as much as 3000 MW of offshore wind power was connected to the grid. The majority of the added offshore wind power was provided by Germany.

Since then, Germany has only continued to increase its reliability on offshore wind by installing more and more offshore wind turbines.

The US has one offshore wind structure, despite the country’s massive wind potential. Offshore wind has faced a lot of opposition partly due to aesthetics.

David Rogers is a state director at Environment North Carolina, an environmental advocacy organization. Rogers explains why North Carolina and the U.S. lack offshore wind projects.

“I think their are a couple of reasons why it feels like offshore wind is moving more slowly than we would like. The first thing to keep in mind is that it’s a relatively new technology, especially in the U.S., where to date we have no offshore wind capacity anywhere,” Rogers says. “The other factor currently is the cost associated with offshore wind. Because it’s a new technology, we haven’t built the economies of scale that other energy sources have developed to help lower costs.”

Offshore wind does face many drawbacks including political opposition, high cost of installment, scale and natural disaster threat.

Offshore wind nonetheless has proven extremely feasible and reliable in EU energy markets.

 

  1. Coral Reef Oil Rigs
Fish swim around coral structures in Pohnpei. Photograph by David Burdick for the NOAA Photo Library.
Fish swim around coral structures in Pohnpei. Photograph by David Burdick for the NOAA Photo Library.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing ocean inventions, or should we say recycling projects, has been coral reef oil rigs.

Scientists have found new uses for abandoned oil rigs – turn them into coral reefs. Since climate change has been devastating coral reefs worldwide, scientists are looking towards artificial reefs to save coral reef habitats. Abandoned oil rigs are one such artificial reef.

The makeshift coral reefs have proven successful. One such abandoned oil rig off the coast of California is thriving with marine life.

Some groups disapprove of converting rigs to reefs, however. Due to the large amount of oil spills from some California oil rigs, many want them permanently and completely removed. A spokeswoman from the Environmental Defense Center argues that oil companies should have to pay for the removal of defective rigs.

Brian Naess, who serves as a lecturer for the University of North Carolina’s Coral Reef Ecology and Management class, explains why he is in favor of artificial reefs.

“I do support artificial reefs, so long as they do not pose a contamination threat or pose a navigational hazard. There is literature about the dangers of using structures composed of metals, as they will eventually rust and fall apart.” Naess says. “But, I think if it’s done well, an artificial reef will act as a place for fish to congregate, a surface for coral and sponges to attach to, and, potentially, as a place for dive operators to visit.”

Many rigs are being converted due to the large amount of marine life they have been seen to harbor. With coral reef habitats being destroyed worldwide, either rigs or other artificial structures may have to take the place of true coral reefs.