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In the last two years, a new technology that produces energy from waste has become popular in European and Asian countries, such as Korea and Japan.
Korea’s Incheon city is currently running a facility that produces fuel from residential wastes. It gets rid of combustible wastes first, and makes Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) by compressing the rest of the waste.
This facility produces about 200 tons of RDF out of 150 tons of residential waste. RDF is known as efficient as anthracite in terms of energy efficiency. RDF is mostly used at a thermoelectric power plant or a paper-mill. Incheon city is planning to produce 1200 more tons of RDF this year.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s Thisted city gets its heating energy by burning abandoned straw and animal wastes. When straw and animal wastes are being burnt, they emit heat with little carbon dioxide, which makes them eco-friendly. In addition, Thisted city is getting about 20 percent of the electricity it needs from residential or industrial wastes.
There is a reason why many nations are becoming interested in energy made with waste. Since most waste is buried in the ground, many major cities worldwide are having trouble with securing places to bury those wastes. For nations with limited land space, like Korea, this problem is more serious. According to Korea’s Ministry of Environment, 83.6 percent of waste produced in Korea is recycled, but the rest of it is just buried in the ground every year. Therefore, several major cities in Korea, such as Incheon, Busan, Kwangju and Deagu either already built or seek to build a special facility to produce RDF.
European countries started producing energy by recycling waste earlier than Asian countries. Some of European countries not only produce RDF but also bio-gas, from food and sewage wastes.
Public transportation like subway or buses in Sweden’s Hammarby sjostad city are running by 100 percent recycled energy. Hammarby sjostad is known as “the city with zero carbon emission.” It is easy to spot people putting bio-gas in their vehicles at every gas stations in Hammarby sjostad city. According to Eurostat, only one percent of waste was buried in the ground in Sweden last year, thanks to Sweden’s effort to recycle waste.
Meanwhile, in Germany, there were 75 bio-gas plants that produce energy from food wastes and animal drops in the 1980s. However, now you can see about 2,000 bio-gas plants in Germany.