Converting household waste to energy

Waste volumes are increasing globally and despite recycling performance improving in recent years, 70 % of waste globally is still sent to landfills every year.

This is a major global challenge – and one which Ørsted has spent the last many years exploring. Our own waste treatment system, Renescience, is a unique enzyme-based technology that turns household waste into energy and recycled materials. Our first Renescience plant is situated in Northwich in the UK.

How does Renescience technology work?

Using enzymes and mechanical sorting, Renescience separates household waste into recyclables, non-recyclables, and organic waste. It then uses anaerobic digestion to convert the organics to biogas for energy generation.

Watch the video to understand the workstream of a Renescience plant.

Click on the buttons below to see how Renescience technology benefits us:

Recycles more

Using Renescience technology, there is no requirement for shredding, compared to source separation or incineration. This allows for a high capture rate of the biomass and recycling of materials. Furthermore, it complements dry source separation by households to push up recycling rates further.

Makes life easier

Renescience is a simpler and more efficient process than traditional waste management options. It makes our lives easier. It extracts as much of the useful waste as possible and deals with it in the most appropriate manner.

Saves money

The collection system for Renescience is simpler than those for organic source separation systems so cost savings can be achieved. Additionally, Biogas is often incentivised by government schemes enabling even higher margins or reductions of gate-fees when competing in waste tenders.

Creates jobs

Renescience Northwich, a world first full-scale bio plant, employed up to 150 local people in its construction. Since becoming operational, it has approx. 25 full-time employees.

Creates valuable resources

Bioliquid used in the Renescience process is highly suitable for biogas production and a host of other chemical products. Metals and other high-grade plastics are also recycled

Reduces air pollution

Renescience reduces the need for incineration and therefore helps cut air pollution significantly. Under EU regulation, biomass is considered CO2-neutral.

A world-first waste-to-energy plant

At our Northwich Plant, Renescience technology treats up to 80,000 tonnes of waste per year, which is equivalent to the waste from approximately 70,000 UK homes.

Key facts:

  • 3 MW of baseload electricity generation
  • Creates clean recyclable material that can be used to make new plastic and metal-based products
  • A by-product of the process known as digestate can be used for land restoration
  • Non-recyclable parts, such as shoes, pieces of wood, textiles, and foils, are used as fuel material elsewhere.

Divestment of Renescience

We have initiated a process for identifying the right owner of our Renescience business, including our waste treatment facility in Northwich in the UK. The Renescience technology has great potential to help solve the increasing global waste challenge, and Ørsted has been a successful incubator for the technology. However, waste treatment is no longer part of our business model and strategic focus.

Watch the video to take a tour of our Renescience Northwich plant 

Climate-friendly biomass

Our biomass is primarily wood pellets and wood chips derived from wood residues from sustainable forestry

Biomass wood pellets below an assembly line.