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ambassador Report View

Alternative Energy in Austria-Trash to Power

by Aaditya Singh | 09-12-2017 04:33 recommendations 0

Austria is at the forefront of green and clean energy. The country gets most of its electricity from hydropower. More than three-quarters of Austrian electricity comes from renewable sources, which also make up 34% of its total energy production. 

It is already far beyond the EU target, which calls on renewables to meet 20% of energy needs by 2020. Home to plenty of sun, wind and water, the nation hopes to increase that amount to 50% by 2030.

Through this report I am introducing another clean energy option that Austria uses by turning trash into power.


Believe it or not, trash travels from Rome to Austria by train and is converted to electricity that powers Austrian homes!

Rome had been struggling with a rubbish crisis and Austria had spare capacity at a waste-to-energy biogas plant. So a deal was struck. The Italians are paying Austrian company EVN to dispose Roman household refuse.

Please watch this video to get the story in a nutshell.



Waste Management Problem in Rome

The city of Rome has a rubbish problem as it produces more waste than it can cope with. Overflowing communal bins are a common sight for both household waste and recycling. Rome's streets are littered with rubbish, even around some of the historic city's most iconic monuments. Overfilled landfill sites forced the authorities to look beyond the region, rather beyond Italy, to dispose of their waste.


Arrangement between the two countries

Austria had already been taking rubbish from Sicily and Naples for years and now the ?Rubbish Trains' arrive from Rome as well. Every year, nearly 200,000 tones of rubbish was being transported into Austria from abroad, 160,000 tones of which came from Italy. Earlier this year, Rome too joined the list of Waste exporters and will send up to 70,000 tons of waste to Austria by yearend.


Transport of Waste

The waste is transported by train over the Alps, through northern Italy to the EVN thermal waste utilization plant on the Danube, at Zwentendorf near Vienna. Three trains arrive at the Zwentendorf plant every week, carrying airtight containers loaded with around 700 tons of Roman household waste.


Waste to Energy

The refuse is incinerated and converted into hot flue gas, which generates steam. The steam is delivered to a neighboring power station, where it is converted into electricity, which is used to power 170,000 houses in the province of Lower Austria.

Trash brought by the trainload each week from Rome and paid for by the city is being turned into heat treasured on cold nights by homeowners in Austria.


Business opportunity for Austria

70,000 tons of garbage from Rome will generate more than 550,000 megawatt-hours. This definitely is perfect use of waste as a resource and a great business venture for Austria and EVN. While EVN charges Rome for its waste to be transported and taken, EVN makes more money by selling electricity, heat and gas generated from the waste.


A Win-Win situation for both nations

Italians recycle less than Austrians, while the Austrians rely on trash for power. This makes the two countries ideal trading partners. I can personally vouch for widely practiced recycling efforts in Austria. High recycling rates do not leave much waste for Austrian 'waste to energy' projects. As for Rome, paying the Austrians to manage their waste is cheaper than disposing it in their own city.

The waste-to-energy business between Austria and Italy is a perfect example of collaboration towards a clean future and green energy, while being a mutually beneficial venture for both nations.



Critics argue that transporting waste uses up energy and burning it produces toxins. However the Austrian government takes necessary measures to avoid pollution due to burning waste. And the energy used in transportation is well compensated by the energy generated in Austria and the waste disposal issue resolved for Rome.

According to me we need more such alliances towards green energy solutions.


Sources and References








  • Canada E-gen Ambassador Aaditya Singh


  • says :
    then only we can control the pollution
    Posted 29-01-2018 19:02

  • says :
    we must also take such step
    Posted 29-01-2018 19:01

  • says :
    Hi, Aaditya! The topic of your report - waste to energy conversion - is very interesting. This form of energy generation can really make the best out of waste. Of course, when it comes to waste, the three R's are always first: reducing waste production, reusing things instead of disposing of them, and finally recycling what waste we can. As for the waste that we cannot apply the three R's on, we can't help throwing it out. At this point, waste to energy conversion will allow the waste material to be used one last time - this time as a fuel source - before being discarded forever. However, I am somewhat concerned that the kind of waste to energy system that you've explained is a method that involves burning. It seems like this would release smoke and maybe even toxic fumes into the air, and this may result in air pollution if not controlled properly. Overall, when controlled carefully, waste to energy systems sound like a great way to both reduce waste and generate energy (from a source other than conventional fossil fuels). Thank you for your well-written report! :)
    Posted 02-01-2018 02:22

  • Elizaveta Zaretskaya says :
    Dear Aaditya! Thank you for sharing. It is interesting to know the situation in your country. Good luck!
    Posted 09-12-2017 22:18

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