Digging for garbage: the dirty secret of the underground. ELFM at the Remostort


Digging for garbage: the dirty secret of the underground. ELFM at the Remostort

With the postgraduaat Cleantech Management, we visited the Remostort. I was surprised to learn that there are still so many places in the world (even in Europe) where garbage treatment is non-existent and that even at the Remostart Enhanced Landfill Mining is still mostly an R&D story. However, they hope to start putting the theory in practice very soon!

IMG_20160414_184857Our EEC research group is organizing a postgraduaat Cleantech Management. Last week, the class got the opportunity to visit “het Remostort”. This is a site where over 15 million tonnes of historical waste is stored underground.

During the sixties and the seventies, this was the way garbage was treated: it was stored untreated in the underground.  This poses a long-term threat to the local environment and drinking water. In Europe, there are over half a million sites like this, and over 90% are not-controlled, poorly maintained.

This is where Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) comes in: instead of leaving it like that, one could dig up the
garbage and recycle what we can with current technologies. Obviously, IMG_20160414_185814not everything can be recycled, so the remaining garbage is transformed in different energy types such as electricity, biohydrogen and biomethane. A new technology that is recently developed is the plasma technology that makes plasma rocks out of the remains of the garbage. This rock can be used for different types of building materials.

Me in particular, I learned quite some new things by visiting the site:

  • At the Remo-site that we visited, currently one is mainly storing industrial waste in a controlled way. So the story of ELFM is not yet (fully) taking place and they are still doing a lot of R&D.
  • However, they soon hope to be ready to start digging the “gold” in order to produce green energy for over 200.000 families during 20 years! They clean up the mess of past generations and they make money out of garbage.
  • On top of that, they are building a “knowledge” center to inspire people all over the world about ELFM. In the majority of the world, garbage is still dumped in an uncontrolled way. And given the material scarcity and the environmental problems, one only benefits by targeting the garbage treatment problem!

In summary: it was a very interesting visit! You can find more information about the Remo-site here.



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