The Closing The Circle project

The ‘Closing the Circle’ project (CtC) is the first case-study for the ELFM Consortium to investigate the opportunities and barriers for ELFM in the REMO landfill site in Houthalen-Helchteren.

 The Closing the Circle project was initiated in 2007. A wide number of feasibility studies have been conducted by the ELFM research consortium to validate the assumptions made during the concept phase of the project. The required permits for the material and energy recuperation installations (Waste-to-Material, WtM and Waste-to-Energy, WtE) are expected to be obtained in 2015. This enable the commissioning of the installations in 2017 for a period of 20 years. During this period the entire area will be transformed into sustainable nature.
The Remo landfill has been operations since the mid-seventies. The landfill itself covers an area of 130 hectares and is situated in the vicinity of the municipalities Heusden-Zolder, Houthalen en Helchteren. The CtC site is surrounded by an old coalmine, a military training camp and one of the most important natural reserves Flanders. This latter explains the strong interest to restore the entire area as sustainable nature.
The amount, type and location of the landfilled waste streams, at the Remo landfill, are well documented. More than 16 million ton of municipal and industrial waste, such as steel slags, car shredder residues, C&D waste and sludge has been landfilled over the years.
The CtC project has four major objectives. First of all half of the available waste streams can be recuperated as secondary raw materials such as slags, steel, copper and other metals. The high caloric combustible residue shall produce green energy through the application of plasma technology. This could generate energy for up to 200.000 families for a period of 20 years. When feeding 100 kilos of waste to a traditional incinerator, this would give rise to 30 kilos of residual waste residues. The plasma technology generates a far higher temperature resulting in the decomposition of waste into elementary particles. This would generate approximately 20 kilos of plasma stone, a vitrified non leaching slag that can be upcycled to high added value building materials, as currently being research in the IWT R&D project on CtC & ELFM.
The third goal is to operate in a climate neutral constellation. Finally when all waste streams are mined and recuperated, the entire landfill will transform into a sustainable nature park, begin the further and last project goal.
The first phase of the CtC project starts in 2014 with the implementation of the “Temporary storage”. This Temporary storage stores waste streams separately according to their later valorization route. This enables the most efficient valorization of the waste streams as either materials or energy.
The Closing The Circle project
Masterplan Closing the Circle
The Closing The Circle project
Conceptual drawing of the Temporary Storage, scheduled to be implemented from 2014 onwards as the first phase of the CtC project

The 'Locals'

The organization of the Enhanced Landfill Mining symposium also marked the start of the locals collaboration. This locals collaboration is an interactive process between the ELFM consortium and the local inhabitants of the Remo landfill. A large delegation of these locals attended the first edition of the ELFM symposium, furthermore this delegation also visit during a study trip the plasma installation of Advanced Plasma Power in Swindon.

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IWT R&D project

The Flemish IWT R&D project on the Closing the Circle project researches the challenging and innovative aspects of the Closing the Circle project such as the separation of mined waste streams, the plasma technology and the upcycling of waste streams into high added value building materials. This R&D project has a duration of 3 year, started in February 2011, is being subsidized by the Flemish IWT and has a total budget of 6 million euros.

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