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"Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Future" demonstrates Danish cleantech

The Billund BioRefinery "Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Future" was officially inaugurated today but has shown its worth as a Lighthouse Project over its 4-year development period.

The official opening of the Billund BioRefinery, the “Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Future” that has already proved its value as a showcase of Danish cleantech knowhow (photo courtesy Billund BioRefinery).

The Billund BioRefinery (BBR) “Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Future” was officially inaugurated today but has shown its worth as a Lighthouse Project over its 4-year development period. The environmental results have exceeded expectations and the international interest has been very strong. The first contracts for export of sustainable technologies have already been secured, followed by a solid and interesting pipeline of projects.

Billund BioRefinery has in a very short time proven its value on the export markets. It is a Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Future that is able to achieve better treatment results, lower the energy consumption and make better use of the resources in the wastewater than other plants. Denmark has an increase of its export of Danish water solutions. We must pursue and develop this increase so that Denmark can help solve some of the environmental challenges in the world and at the same create new jobs in Denmark, said Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen who visited the plant last spring to get a personal first-hand impression of the plant.

In a very short time, the project has helped to secure two contracts for plants in South Korea and a number of very interesting collaboration possibilities are under way.

Billund BioRefinery has opened a dialogue with potential clients all over the world which holds some very interesting possibilities – not only for us but for the entire Danish environmental export. On the home front, the project has also shown that well-established and efficient Danish wastewater treatment plants can be upgraded to energy-producing plants with increased resource recovery and contribution to the circular economy, said Leif Bentsen, CEO Krûger A/S, an  environmental technology company that has worked closely with Billund Vand to develop Billund BioRefinery.

Successful project

After the key technology Exelys was put into operation last August, all expectations to the energy production, treatment efficiency and reduction of residues for disposal have been more than fulfilled.

From the beginning, we wished to create a joint identity in the project. We put a lot of emphasis on letting the key employees from Krüger and Billund Vand get to know each other. The purpose was not only to create a technological lighthouse project but to develop the project with as much benefit as possible for all parties involved, said Ole P. Johnsen, CEO; Billund BioRefinery.

Billund BioRefinery combines a wide range of technologies in a unique way so that less energy is applied for wastewater treatment. At the same time, the treated wastewater is much cleaner than requested by the strict Danish standards and much more energy is recovered from the wastewater and waste, and the amount of the sludge is reduced and refined to an odourless, easily manageable and very efficient organic fertiliser for agricultural purposes.

The energy surplus is distributed to the power and district heating network and will benefit the local community, sludge for disposal is significantly reduced and the total amount of nutrients discharged to recipients is reduced by approximately 60 percent. Around 98 percent of all wastewater and household waste sorted at source is now recycled at Billund which is totally unique at international level – and creates a whole new outlook on wastewater and waste as valuable resources.

Facts on Billund BioRefinery

The energy production has increased by 60 percent from approximately 8.6 million kWh to around. 14 million kWh per annum. Billund BioRefinery is now a net exporter of CO2-neutral energy for power and district heating networks.

The capacity for treatment of e.g. nitrogen has been increased by 35 000 PE by means of the technology Anitamox. This provides the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) with a large extra capacity for future connections.

The discharge of nutrients from the plant has already now been reduced by approximately 60 percent. When all technologies have been fully implemented, this will correspond to a reduced emission of approximately 12 tonnes of pure nitrogen.

 

The unique Danish technology, Exelys with thermal hydrolysis is the main contributor to the big growth in the energy production – and the sludge amount treated in the Exelys unit is at the same time reduced by 30-40 percent.

The content of nitrogen and phosphorus in the organic fertiliser is increased by approximately 18 percent and the absolute amount of xenobiotics is 30 percent lower.

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