DONG Energy has signed a contract with Novozymes to provide enzyme technologies for the mixed-waste waste-to-energy facility in Northwich. The agreement is a long-term contract but without exclusivity rights, giving the co-signees the option to work with other renewable energy innovators in the field and reap even greater gains for the development of energy from waste technologies.
The waste treatment plant is the first full-scale operating development of its kind to use enzyme technologies to maximize the generation of biogas and waste recycling from everyday household waste.
The process sees everyday household waste mixed with a combination of enzymes and water in a reactor to create a thermogenic chemical reaction which dissolves the waste and converts it into a liquid that is biogas-ready. This produces 5MW of green electricity.
Any remaining waste - metal and plastic - is either recycled or converted into usable fuel. As part of the new contract, DONG energy and Novozymes will be working in collaboration to further refine the processes and enzyme technologies used at the plant to extract greater value from the waste materials and further optimize the energy-recovery process.
The plant - called REnescience - will be fully operational early next year and will process over 120,000 tonnes of domestic waste every year, equating to an impressive 15 tonnes every hour. It will be financed, built and operated by DONG, who are also looking at sites for similar developments across the world.
Meanwhile, DONG is also showing a further commitment to enzyme-based energy recovery and efficiency technologies by developing a prototype technology that uses these active ingredients to recover biogas, RDF and recyclable material from municipal waste in Denmark. The hope is that these developments stimulate further investment and growth in the market.