Copenhagen’s latest gem – a waste-fired power plant – will convert 400,000 tons of waste per year produced by 500,000 – 700,000 inhabitants and at least 46,000 companies. Operating at 99% energy efficiency, the plant will provide 160,000 homes with hot water and power 62,500 homes in the Danish capital. Amager Resource Center’s (ARC) waste management plant on Copenhill – better known as Amager Bakke – will be the world’s most efficient waste burning and energy-generating plant once it is completed in the summer of 2018.
Cutting 100,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, the plant will enable the city to reuse 90 percent of its metal waste, which amounts to 10,000 tons of metal per year. The plant will recover 100 million liters of spare water through flue gas condensation and reuse 100,000 tons of bottom ash, which will be repurposed as road material. The plant, which is part of Europe’s waste-to-energy movement, is expected to cost a total of four billion DKK (about $632 million).
With its sleek ultra-modern design, Ammager Bakke will host one of the world’s longest artificial ski slopes, as well as a café and running path on its roof. It will also include a grove of trees and boasts the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall. Around the plant will sit a recreational area with facilities for water sports, soccer fields and a go-kart track.
ARC first called for bids to design a waste-to-energy facility in 2011, which was picked up by Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). According to BIG, “[the plant will] become part of the city” rather than just be a feature of it. The plant, which was previously situated in an industrial area, has become a space for thrill-seekers and extreme sports’ enthusiasts over the years. The designers’ philosophy is to integrate the plant into the city, “redefining the relationship between the waste plant and the city.”
The site previously hosted a power plant, but was not as efficient as Amager Bakke will be. Amager Bakke will produce 25 percent more energy using the same amount of waste, making it the world’s most efficient waste burning plant.
Although skiing is one of Denmark’s most popular sports, the country is largely flat with few ski slopes. Amager Bakke’s 10,000 square mile rooftop seems to be an ideal spot for that; an expected 57,000 visitors will frequent the ski slope in the first year. The 440-meter ski slope will include three skiing lines of varying difficulty, with a 180-meter black run with a 45-degree slope at its steepest.
Amager Bakke partially opened at the beginning of 2017 but by the middle of the year, it faced a number of technical problems, with one of the two incinerators breaking down, forcing the facility to store waste in plastic bags.
The opening of Amager Bakke is part of Copenhagen’s plan to be the first zero-carbon capital city by 2025, which joins other cities propelling similar initiatives elsewhere in Europe.