6th sep, 2011

One of those science fiction inventions that’s already here

What I love working with innovation is that some time you come across an invention, new process or concept that blows you away because it is surprising or brilliant or  like science fiction. And some times the invention is all these things at the same time
REneScience is a company with such an invention. The company is a collaboration between universities , public utilities and private companies and a spin-off from DONG Energy’s R&D on pre-treatment of biomass for energy purposes.
Their idea is to apply enzymes to household waste and let them break down different components of the waste. The process liquefies organic material contained in the unsorted MSW thereby enabling biogas production from the biological contents of our waste. The remaining solid part contains glass, PVC and metals suitable for recycling, and a fraction comprising of textiles, woody materials and low-grade plastics which is suitable as a fuel in high-efficiency energy production. The patent for the idea can be seen here.
I remember reading Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond age” and wonder at his idea of purifying wastewater thru membranes and separating the different molecules. This is a step in that direction.

As Ulla Röttger (CEO of Amager Forbrænding – one of the REneScience partners) said at a strategy talk not long ago the waste landfills could be seen as a resourcebank in the future because of this invention. Furthermore it´s an example of how innovation in the public sector can be a success.

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