More than 2 megawatt (MW) of electrical power is produced by two MWM (Caterpillar brand) gas generator sets on Mallorca from treated biogas and are therefore essential components in the Mallorcan government’s fight against waste, which is now produced by an average of 14 million tourists per year and more than 900,000 inhabitants on the island.
The waste management model of today is based on the “zero waste” principle. It envisages that all waste produced on the largest Balearic island, 170 km off the Spanish mainland, is either used as raw material or converted into energy.
The model is based on careful waste separation and the establishment of a recycling economy. Disposable plastic has been banned for one year, all packaging waste is sorted and recycled. Biogas is produced from the organic waste in huge fermenters, the solid residues are dried and made available again as compost.
- At the heart of the system is Mallorca’s Environmental Technology Park, where more than 730,000 tonnes of waste are processed annually. A large number of investments have been made in recent years to modernise the plant, for example in a further fermenter and in an MWM TCG 2020 V12 unit with a capacity of 1.2 MW, which has now been supplemented since July last year by a TBG 620 V12 with a capacity of 940 kW.
- The two generator sets produce the heat required for the fermenters and more electrical energy than the entire plant requires. The excess electricity is thus fed into the local power grid and contributes to the supply of clean energy.
- There is a lack of EU efforts to promote the potential of gas generator sets, both in terms of efficiency and the environmental added value. While centralised energy generation is mainly focussed on fossil fuels, decentralised energy production with gas generator sets allows the use of local and re-usable energy sources.
- However – despite these undeniable advantages – such CHP-solutions (combined heat & power) are often only perceived by policymakers as bridging technologies rather than as sustainable solutions for the future.
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