Processing waste into new resources
What’s happening? How does it happen?
Greenmills is a processing plant for second generation biofuels that uses residual fats and oils (which are imported on a global scale), food waste from supermarkets, and grey water as resources. The combination of different treatment processes provides clean water and gas (which provides electricity, heath and steam), and stands in direct contact and exchange with companies Simadan, Cargill and a juice making company via pipelines. The digestate is transformed into fertilizers.
Why is this an interesting circular initiative for ports?
It is exemplary for new technologies that allow to process waste into new ressources, in connection (industrial symbiosis) with different activities inside the port area. However, where the logic is gathering large volumes to be processed, a friction occurs as now oils and fats are imported on a global scale. It raises the question on what scale what materials are collected and processed.
Biodiesel is again wanted by European commitments. Both Simadan and the new biodiesel factory on the site of Oiltanking produce second-generation biodiesel from waste.
What is the relation with the port and water?
The import of residual fats and oils happens on a global scale, supplied via boats over water. On the scale of the port there’s a symbiosis with food companies and distribution centres.
What is the relation with the city?
Not that significant: the proportion of the input of waste on the city level is marginal, although some supermarkets are involved. The plant produces electricity, which is deliverd to the city net.
What are the ambitions?
To offer an alternative to fossil fuels, the port of Amsterdam is strongly committed to these biofuels. But if the scale of input is global, it could still be called circular but what is the impact and external costs related to these long distances.
Who is behind it?
The plant is run by Orgaworld, and forms a part of the multinational recycling group Renewi. Greenmills relies on two companies, Orgaworld (subsidiary of Shanks) and Simadan, holding company of Rotie and Biodiesel Amsterdam among others.