China will soon welcome what is being hailed as the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant. To be designed by Denmark-based firms Gottlieb Paludan Architects and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, the plant will be housed inside a colossal solar-powered and green-roofed structure, in Shenzhen. On an average, it will incinerate up to 5,000 tonnes of trash – around one-third of the total waste generated each year by the 20 million people living in the region – every single day.
The yet-to-constructed Shenzhen East Waste-to-Energy Plant will boast an array of state-of-the-art facilities, including a learning center that instructs visitors on proper waste disposal and management. Nestled among the mountains in the outskirts of the city, the plant’s industrial as well as auxillary buildings will be present within a simple, circular structure, whose innovative and compact design actually calls for substantially less excavation. To help lower the building’s footprint, the developers will be installing solar panels over two-thirds of the total 66,000 sq m roof. The remaining area will be set aside for green roofs, skylights, rainwater collection and recycling systems and so on. Speaking about the project, the architects said:
The plant is intended to showcase the Waste-to-Energy production as an important technical process that is geared to deal with the issues of growing waste, as well as the issue of finding more environmentally friendly ways of generating electricity.
As the architects point out, gaps in the building’s circular facade will allow sun’s rays to enter the interior, while also making provision for natural ventilation. Before undergoing combustion, the waste will be kept safely inside odor and noise-proof chambers. The trash will then be treated using some of world’s most advanced and efficient waste incineration technologies, with the resultant energy being harvested and stored for later use. Lining the building all along its circumference are planting strips and verdant patches, radiating outward.
The waste-to-energy facility, according to the developers, will house a dormitory, a pressure station, multiple waste treatment pools and also a booster station. For educational purposes, visitors will be allowed to explore the plant, including its well-equipped learning center. A special rooftop discovery path will offer outsiders a chance to admire the breathtaking surrounding landscape. The developers added:
At the same time visitors become informed on the challenge of the growing amounts of waste we produce every day and are also educated on initiatives on how to reduce their own amount of daily waste.