Colombia’s San Andres Island to Make Energy from Trash

Posted on Jul 18 2012 - 12:03pm by Rico

The Colombian island of San Andres will begin turning solid waste into electrical power starting in September in what the country’s top energy official called Monday a “landmark” project for Colombia.

“Mountains of trash will be converted into electricity,” Mines and Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas said in a message on the website Twitter, while on a visit to the island, population 80,000, off the coast of Nicaragua. “San Andres will be a pioneer.”

Demand for electricity in Colombia’s growing economy has rise 3.1% over the past 12 months. The Colombian government subsidizes three-quarters of the costs of power on San Andres island.

The minister said the trash-to-electricity project would not only reduce the country’s energy costs, but would begin to get rid of the growing piles of garbage on the island, which he said have become a “serious environmental problem.”

The process will involve putting nonrecyclable household trash from landfills into giant incinerators. The trash is then burned to heat a boiler, which spins a turbine that creates power.

European countries including Denmark and Germany have for years been using trash to create heat and power.