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Irish Times - 27-05-05
Department group goes to Amsterdam to view incinerator

Dublin's proposed incinerator could supply electricity to more than 100,000 homes, a Department of the Environment study group was told in the Netherlands yesterday. The study group, which was in Amsterdam looking at an incinerator similar to that proposed for Ringsend by Dublin City Council, comprised of members of the department's Race Against Waste Campaign and journalists.

On a visit to the Huisvuilcentrale incinerator near Amsterdam the group was told that in addition to supplying power, the incinerator could supply heating to factories and businesses in the area.

The plant operators said a planned major new football stadium in the area would be heated by hot water from the plant.

The Huisvuilcentrale incinerator serves a population of 1.5 million people and handles about 600,000 tonnes of waste a year.

It supplies power to 125,000 homes.

The incinerator planned for Dublin would be a little smaller.

Dublin has a population of more than one million and the projected tonnage is about 450,000 tonnes a year.

The Dutch incinerator is located in agricultural land amid vulnerable flora and fauna which was deliberately placed around the buildings housing a turbine, furnaces and the chimney, the group was told. The flora, particularly gladioli, was selected because it is vulnerable to dioxins - carcinogenic toxins in smoke and fumes.

The operators also keep a herd of cows whose milk is monitored on a daily basis.

Other more scientific methods of detection are contained in scrubbers and cleansers that treat the smoke before it leaves the plant.

The results of a range of daily tests for dioxins and other pollutants are displayed on the internet where they are tracked by community groups.

Agreements have been made with surrounding farmers that should pollution above a specific level escape, the farmers would get financial compensation.

The group was told that in a decade of operation no compensation was sought or paid, indicating a high compliance record.

The Dutch currently recycle about 50 per cent of their waste while the operators of the Huisvuilcentrale incinerator claim the materials recovered from their operation, electricity and heat, as well as some raw materials from the waste stream, bring the waste recycling target up to 80 per cent.

Tim O'Brien
© The Irish Times


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