Oslo Running Out Of Trash, How Much Is Yours Worth?

By: | May 3rd, 2013

OSLO-1-superJumbo

Oslo, Norway is a city of 1.4 million people that finds itself in the enviable position of having to import garbage. In fact half of Oslo’s residents need a steady supply of garbage in order to power appliances and heat their homes. Pal Mikkelsen, head of Oslo’s Waste-to-Energy Agency, sites “400 plants currently operating in the region due to construction of these facilities over the past several decades.”

The following diagram show a typical garbage burning plant with outputs of electricity, landfill, water vapor and “cleaned” flue gasses:

Trash Burning Electricity Producing Plant (Image Courtesy www.whyfiles.org)

Overcapacity in Northern Europe

This huge capacity for garbage burning vastly outpaces local waste production. Northern Europe produces about 150 million tons of burnable trash a year but their installed capacity for incineration is 700 million tons.

In general these facilities burn waste to produce heat which boils water generating steam to drive electric turbines. The systems are from 15 to 30% efficient but cogeneration or recycling waste heat provides homes with hot water and recycled flue gas fumes for biogas production powering Oslo’s Metro bus system; cogeneration increases efficiency to between 75% and 100%.

Governments Involved in Solving Problem

Oslo has begun importing garbage from England, Ireland and Sweden and is studying the efficacy of importing garbage from the US. While Northern Europeans are considered fastidious in their handling of garbage Americans are not.

Regulators are getting into the game by charging for garbage disposal thus making it cheaper for many to send their garbage to Oslo. Environmentalists look at this differently; anything that encourages the use of garbage or discourages its reduction is a problem, as they see it.

The Largest Garbage Dumps in the World:

Many of these plants receive 10,000 to 20,000 tons of new garbage a day and could be suitable locations for this type of plant:

  • Bordo Poniente Landfill, Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico
  • Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • Fresh Kills Landfill, New York City (closed in 2001)
  • Lago Dump, Nigeria (500 container ships dump elecronic waste each month)
  • Apex Regional Landfill, Las Vegas, Nevada (Will close when it has recieved 1 billion tons of garbage)
  • Sudokwon Landfill, South Korea (adds 6.3 million tons of garbage per year)
  • Puente Hills Landfill, Los Angeles, California (Holds 3.7 million tons on 700 acres)

David Schilling

David lives in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, and regularly visits MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Northeastern, Boston\’s leading companies and labs, the stacks at Boston Atheneaum and Boston Public Library to uncover and research story ideas. You can also find David on Google+.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ 

More articles from Industry Tap...

Tell Us What You Think

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...

6 thoughts on “Oslo Running Out Of Trash, How Much Is Yours Worth?

  1. Robert Steiner
    May 5, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I wish a plant like that would be set up in Croatia as our location could cover the southern part of Europe. Does anybody know the cost of initial investment?

  2. Edward Tome
    May 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I also wish a plant like this could be set up in Harare,Zimbabwe as trash management is a big concern for us and the environment. This plant if set up could cover Southern Africa as a secondary stage having started in Harare.

    Southern Africa’s power deficit may be reduced as we have power cuts on a daily basis.

    May I know how much this plant built-up and installation could cost.

    Edward Tome

  3. Prakash Sharma
    May 7, 2013 at 11:37 am

    WE have a garbage sorting plant in Cape Town South Africa, and have access to large quantity of garbage, please ask the OSLO power producer to contact me.
    thanks
    Praksh sharma

  4. Prashant
    May 8, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I hope such plants are also devolped in India as i have seen huge garbage lying along the railway lines and cities . If such plants come up people will start collecting trash in their houses which the power companies can outsource to have it collected . I hope it will generate lot of employment besides making India more pollution free.

    Great work done ny Oslo Residents!!!!!!!!!

  5. fayez hendam
    May 8, 2013 at 5:56 am

    I also wish a plant like this could be set up in cairo -egypt as trash management
    is a big concern for us and the environment. This plant if set up could cover north
    Africa, middle east , as a secondary stage having started in cairo .

    egypt power deficit may be reduced as we have potential power cuts on a daily basis.

    May I know how much this plant built-up and installation could cost.

    Fayez Hendam

  6. cassim
    May 8, 2013 at 7:14 am

    well can buy as manny carbish from mozambique as it is just dumped and of no use to anyone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *