Waste incineration power generation: Norway is not alone in turning waste into treasure
For a country with rich oil resources, importing waste incineration for power generation seems unnecessary, and Norway is doing so today!
A waste incineration plant near Bergen, Norway, where imported waste is a growing share of the Norwegian incineration market.
The garbage business doesn't sound very attractive, but it can be lucrative. Between October last year and April this year, Britain paid to ship 45,000 tonnes of household waste from Bristol and Leeds to Norway. "There is a huge demand for incineration in Europe, so Norway needs to import waste from other countries for incineration," said Pal Spirum, head of recycling at the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Authority.
Spirum did not disclose the specific amount of waste incinerated, but said that the import market for waste is growing and that they are considering requests from other UK cities to export waste. He told the Guardian that half of their income comes from fees for recycling and the other half from energy generated by burning the waste.
Norway is not alone in turning waste into treasure!
In Europe, waste incineration has become a popular way to dispose of waste. There are currently 420 waste incineration power stations across Europe, generating energy that could heat and power more than 20 million people. Germany imports the most waste, followed by Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands. But according to Green Nation, Denmark's official funding agency, Norway generates the largest share of district-heating energy from waste incineration.
Oslo has built a massive waste incinerator to meet future growth. ChristofferBackVestli, communications consultant for the City of Oslo, said: "As more and more European cities move away from landfilling, we expect the generation of waste from incineration to grow further. Currently, Oslo is capable of burning 410,000 tons of waste a year, and we import 45,000 tons from the UK. The amount of waste going to landfill in Europe is 150 million tons a year, so there is obviously a lot of room for growth."
Spirum also told reporters that the cost of paying to export waste was cheaper for some UK cities than going to landfill themselves.
Waste incinerators can only handle "clean waste", so any potentially harmful waste needs to be removed. Norwegians take their waste sorting very seriously, using three coloured bags: blue for recyclable plastic, green for food waste that produces biogas, and white for other waste that needs to be disposed of. Many Norwegians are concerned that waste imported from the UK and Ireland is not sorted so carefully. HenningReinton, head of Greenpeace Norway, said: "We have no way of knowing whether the waste coming in from Bristol, Leeds and Ireland is properly sorted or whether it is' clean '."
There are also concerns that incineration will affect people's ability to recycle their waste. Julie Kirby, of Friends of the Earth, said: "Waste incineration is not as green as people think. According to our statistics, 80 percent of the waste used for incineration can be easily recycled."
Some Norwegians think waste-to-energy plants are bad for the urban landscape. Still, most Norwegians seem to be on board with the idea of burning waste to generate electricity. According to the survey, 71% of Norwegians support this renewable energy.
(Source: China Investment Advisory Network)