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Rotterdam start-up turns restaurant scraps into energy

Could biogas be heating our homes by 2020? Rotterdam start-up Stadsgas is hoping to make that a reality. 

Renewable waste companies

Industrial designer Philip Troost came up with the idea to heat Rotterdam with environmentally friendly biogas for his graduation project at TU Delft.

His start-up, Stadsgas works alongside GroenCollect, a company that collects the organic waste with electric vehicles. Their aim is to create a means where renewable energy becomes the norm.

The process

From March 2017, Stadsgas and GroenCollect will send out their first electric truck to go around Rotterdam-West and pick up discarded food waste from restaurants. They will then deliver it to a biogas plant, which will provide the right environment for bacteria to break down the waste via fermentation.

"You throw waste in it, consisting of cooked and uncooked leftovers, and the bacteria gets to work and produces the gas," said Troost. 

Heating Rotterdam businesses

Before the gas makes it into the homes of residents, Troost is testing it out on Rotterdam businesses. It will be the first company of its kind to heat Rotterdam offices with pure biogas.

In order to do so, businesses will have to invest in three large containers, however, Troost claims they will make their money back within the first three years of use.

Currently, Stadsgas is having to use a biogas plant in Amsterdam, which has already been approved by authorities, however, from the summer of 2017, Rotterdam will have its own. 

According to Troost, a biogas plant requires three tonnes of waste in order to run. Rotterdam has enough restaurant food waste for 20 biogas factories.

Furthermore, once the fermented waste has provided energy, its by-product can be used to provide local farms and city gardens with fertiliser.

And if that wasn’t enough, Stadsgas will donate a portion of the profits to various initiatives around Rotterdam that contribute to a more sustainable society.

The future of energy in Rotterdam homes

The average resident of Rotterdam currently pays 375 euros a year per household to have their waste collected.

It gets incinerated and then converted to electricity and sold back to residents, yet if bacteria could be used to digest the waste instead of having large trucks come and dispose of it, the collection of food waste could be a lot more efficient, not to mention economically friendly. 

 

Kiri

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Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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