A mobile REnescience plant is on its way to Malaysia to test waste. Picture: DONG Energy

Enzyme technology to alleviate Malaysian waste problems

​Published on May 25th, 2016

​Our enzyme technology REnescience extracts valuable resources from waste and hereby reduces CO2 emissions. Right now, a mobile test plant is on its way to Malaysia to examine the potential of the technology in solving the country's waste challenges.  

Today, large quantities of CO2 are emitted when we extract raw materials and produce consumer goods. After use, most of these products end up in landfills as wasted resources. This system harms local environments, the climate as well as the economy. 

According to the World Bank, waste volumes worldwide will have increased by 70% globally in 2025, compared to 2012. This increase will be significant in countries like Malaysia where the capacity to handle waste is already limited. REnescience is able to sort waste for recycling, thereby turning a problem into a resource. That is why we see a large potential for the technology in Malaysia, but also in other Asian countries.

"Malaysia is a very interesting market for our technology as there's a growing need for exploiting the resources in the increasing waste volumes," says Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President in DONG Energy. 

A valuable carton of juice
When we recycle waste and use it in the production of new goods, we decrease the demand for raw materials and reduce the accumulation of waste in landfills.

By treating the waste with enzymes, REnescience ensures a more efficient waste sorting than what is currently possible with manual sorting. This is good news for the environment as more efficient sorting increases the potential for recycling.

Take an empty carton of orange juice for example. This packaging contains several materials: paper on the outside, foil on the inside, orange pulp leftovers and maybe a plastic screw cap. When you sort this for recycling, the best you can do is to screw off the plastic cap for recycling, and make sure to empty it as much as possible. The fact is that some orange pulp leftovers will go to waste, and the paper and the foil cannot be separated. However, at a REnescience plant, the enzymes separate the waste effectively so the materials can be recycled. The orange pulp leftovers and the paper become biogas, the plastic cap is used for the production of new plastic items, and the foil is burned in a waste incinerator generating new energy.

Next stop Malaysia
The content of waste differs considerably from country to country, and even from city to city. For this reason, it is important that we test the REnescience technology locally before making decisions about investments in larger plants. This is exactly what the mobile test plant is for, and that is why it is now on its way to Malaysia. We have just entered into a cooperation agreement with Cenviro, one of Malaysia's largest players within waste management. At first, in close cooperation, the two companies have agreed to test thewaste in various local communities in Malaysia. Household waste in Malaysia has a high share of organic components, making it a good potential source of biogas. 

We are also planning to send the mobile plant to other Asian countries to test the potential of REnescience in various contexts. In Denmark and the UK, the technology has already been tested, and we are currently constructing the first full-scale REnescience plant. Located near Manchester in the UK, the plant will be capable of handling waste from the equivalent of almost 110,000 households. We expect it to be operational at the beginning of 2017. The future will show whether similar full-scale plants will turn waste into resources in Malaysia and other Asian countries.

 

 

Waste volumes are increasing globally – especially in countries like Malaysia where the capacity to handle the waste is limited. Picture: DONG Energy.