Biogas paves the way for waste handling in Europe
- Published: Tuesday, 04 August 2015 08:48
Europe is focused heavily on improving its handling of waste and ensuring the best use of both energy and nutrients in food waste, not only from ordinary households but also from supermarkets and industry. Biogas technology paves the way for an effective use of the resources found in waste.
Food waste from households, supermarkets and industry should no longer end up on the landfill. The organic waste should be used for green energy production, while the nutrients in the waste should be reused as fertiliser in agriculture.
This is a trend in large parts of the world, where there is a growing wish to improve waste handling in both urban communities and businesses.
Large technological advances within biogas technology in recent years have helped pave the way for the exploitation of both energy and nutrients in food waste. Therefore, Xergi is currently involved in building biogas plants that transform food waste into energy and fertiliser.
This is the message from Ole Trudslev of Xergi, who has investigated the development on the international market for the treatment of food waste.
Clear focus area in Europe
"The global population in general is increasing, combined with a tendency for the rural population to move into the cities. This is creating some mega cities, which are experiencing a great need for the development of a sustainable handling of waste," explains Trudslev.
"In Europe, we are seeing strong developments, especially in the UK and in Sweden, and partly also in France, while a country such as Denmark is not as far ahead," he elaborates.
In some places in Asia and USA as well, however, people have started source separation of household waste for treatment in biogas plants.
Strong focus in the industrial sector
Overall Xergi is experiencing an increasing flow of waste, which in recent years has been directed to biogas plants for treatment.
"There is first and foremost a growing recognition in industry and supermarkets that waste treatment is both desirable and worth paying for. The companies can make a business case, which is viable because it is possible to produce energy from the waste. This helps to drive this part of the market forward. But we are also seeing many municipalities that would like household waste separated at source in order to better exploit the resources," says Trudslev.
Biogas paving the way for the development
The development is supported by the fact that improvements are being made to both process technologies and biogas plants at a rapid pace.
"It is a relatively complex task to select the correct process technologies for the mix of waste that is available for the individual biogas plant. We are currently seeing a rapid improvement in these technologies. At the same time, we at Xergi have contributed both by developing more efficient biogas plants and new process technologies, so the technology developments pave the way for the potential to treat even more waste, at a reasonable cost," states Trudslev.
Xergi has already constructed three biogas plants, which treat food waste, namely Barkip in Scotland and Méta-Bio Energies and Labat in France.
Xergi is currently in the process of building two plants, Willen Biogas near London and Scandinavian Biogas Sofielund near Stockholm.
"I am in no doubt that this is just the beginning. We will be seeing many more waste-based biogas plants over the coming years," maintains Ole Trudslev.