Organic Waste to Fuel at Scale from 110,000 Homes

Novozymes and DONG Energy become a power team to fix the landfill problem in the UK by collaborating on a biological sorting system.

The enzymes will be provided from Novozymes to the DONG Energy's REnescience landfill plant in the UK. This green power partnership plans to diminish the amount of waste in landfills not only in the UK but worldwide.DONG Energy's REnescience plant in the UK will be sorting household waste from 110,000 UK homes annually. The plant, located in Northwich in the North West of England, will be the first full-scale bio-plant in the world capable of handling household waste by means of enzymes.

Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President in DONG Energy, said: "It's important to extract as many resources as possible from waste, and the enzymes are an important part of the process where we convert waste into green energy and recyclable material. We're pleased to enter into a partnership with Novozymes on setting up this type of plant."

Waste Converted to Bio-Gas

Today, a large part of UK waste ends up in landfill sites. It is expensive and harmful to the environment. The REnescience plant will ensure that as much of the waste as possible is recycled and converted into bio-gas, which can then be converted into green power. The REnescience plant can sort 15 tons of waste per hour or 120,000 tons per year. This corresponds to the waste from almost 110,000 UK homes.

Thomas Schrøder, Vice President in Novozymes, said: "Waste is a major problem for many urban areas around the world, but this technology turns the problem into a resource. Bio-refineries like this, where trash is transformed into value, is an excellent example of circular economy in practice."

Waste Becomes Valuable Products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1: Infographic shows the role of enzymes in converting unsorted household waste into bio-gas.

With the REnescience technology (Figure 1.), ordinary unsorted household waste is mixed with water and enzymes in a large reactor. Then, the actual chemical process starts as enzymes dissolve all food waste, labels and similar types of organic waste. The output becomes a liquid that can be used for bio-gas. At the Northwich facility, the bio-gas will be used to generate around 5 MW of electricity which is enough to power around 9,500 typical households. The remaining part of the waste is plastic and metal, which can be recycled. Novozymes and DONG Energy have also agreed to further develop the enzymes for the technology together.

"The further development of the enzymes will help us to continuously optimize the process and, at the same time, extract even more valuable products from the waste. This is both good for the environment and useful in terms of reducing the costs of waste management. I'm pleased that together we're also looking at the future prospects for this technology," said Mr. Dalsgaard.

The REnescience plant in Northwich is expected to be operational in early 2017. DONG Energy will finance, build and operate the plant in the North West of England and will also look into the possibilities for building similar plants in other places around the world. The enzyme supply agreement is a long-term non-exclusive agreement DONG Energy and Novozymes have just agreed that Novozymes will deliver enzymes for the coming REnescience plant in Northwich in the North West of England. It will be the first full-scale bio plant in the world capable of handling household waste by means of enzymes.

Mr. Dalsgaard said: "It's important to extract as many resources as possible from waste, and the enzymes are an important part of the process where we convert waste into green energy and recyclable material. We're pleased to enter into a partnership with Novozymes on setting up this type of plant."

The REnescience plant is expected to be operational in early 2017. DONG Energy will finance, build and operate the plant in the North West of England and will also look into the possibilities for building similar plants in other places around the world.The enzyme supply agreement is a long-term non-exclusive agreement.

About REnescience

DONG Energy has developed the biotechnology REnescience which converts unsorted municipal solid waste into valuable products for recycling. REnescience is a safe, reliable technology which has been working since 2009 at a demonstration plant in Copenhagen in Denmark. Through enzyme treatment, the technology is able to convert unsorted household waste into bio-gas as well as recyclable plastics and metals.

About DONG Energy

DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, headquartered in Denmark. Around 6,700 ambitious employees are engaged in developing, constructing and operating offshore wind farms; generating power and heat from our power stations; providing energy to residential and business customers on a daily basis; and producing oil and gas. Group revenue was DKK 71bn (EUR 9.5bn) in 2015. 

About Novozymes

Novozymes is the world leader in biological solutions. Together with customers, partners and the global community, we improve industrial performance while preserving the planet’s resources and helping build better lives. As the world’s largest provider of enzyme and microbial technologies, our bioinnovation enables higher agricultural yields, low-temperature washing, energy-efficient production, renewable fuel and many other benefits that we rely on today and in the future. We call it Rethink Tomorrow.