Electricity generated from waste

New electricity power station, near Minsk, cutting harmful emissions
By Yuri Chernyakevich

These days, electricity can be generated from diverse sources, including wind and solar power. Communal waste can also be converted into power, as evinced at Severny, near Minsk. Since mid-July, electricity has been generated there from waste gases, ensuring that power is both ecologically friendly and efficient. It can produce electricity for over 1,000 flats in the Belarusian capital and, once full capacity is launched, will be the largest site dealing with waste decontamination within the post-Soviet space and Eastern Europe. It already generates 2.8MWt but the figure should double, once additional waste processing facilities have been installed.

The project is quite new for Belarus, with $6m of investment due to be repaid within five years, funded by TDF Ecotech (a Belarusian subdivision of Swiss TDF Ecotech AG). The latter is known in Belarus for its successful realisation of several other programmes in the field of alternative energy. The company has built bio-gas facilities at Snov and Lan agro-industrial complexes, as well as an electricity power station at Trostenets (near Minsk), providing electricity to thousands of families in the capital and the Minsk Region, using alternative energy sources.

The Chairman of the TDF Ecotech Board of Directors, Dmitry Vasiliev, explains that the new Severny processing station is unique in occupying an existing site for solid communal waste; it should be viable for over 15 years, since waste will continue to arrive. Once ‘stores’ have been exhausted, the facility will be dismantled and moved elsewhere.

Importantly, the new station should cut harmful gas emissions into the atmosphere by over 80,000 tonnes annually (since organic waste emits gases on putrefaction). Methane is the key element, being 30 times more potent than hydrocarbon gas; burning it off will greatly reduce harmful emissions.

TDF Ecotech AG has many plans relating to Belarus, including four further alternative energy projects — all approved by Minsk authorities. We are likely to see more waste processing electricity stations near the capital in future.
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