Mexico City’s subway will soon run on trash!
In 2020, a waste-to-energy plant, built and managed by Veolia, will allow the Mexican capital to treat one-third of its garbage and simultaneously generate green electricity. It’s the first circular installation anywhere in Latin America.
The Veolia designed and operated site will process 4,500 tons of household waste daily.
inhabitants produce 13,000 tons of waste a day. Waste, which, in most cases, goes straight to landfill without being recycled or recovered. The adverse effects on the environment are well known: water and soil pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
The Mexican capital has experienced several "garbage crises" in recent years. In 2011, the closure of the city's largest landfill (70 million tons of waste covering 10 km2!) for health reasons led to the appearance of piles of garbage in the streets for months on end.
The very difficult situation and repeated crises prompted the municipality to change its waste management and treatment policy for one based on the circular economy. Veolia won the competitive tender and signed a thirty year contract in May 2017. Its subsidiary Proactiva Medio Ambiente Mexico will build a waste-to-energy plant – a first both for Mexico and Latin America.
A great step forward for the circular economy
The waste-to-energy plant is expected to go into operation in 2020. It is designed to handle 4,500 tons of household waste per day (1.6 million tons per year) - one third of all the garbage the city produces every day. The goal is to turn the garbage into green electricity.
In practical terms, incinerating waste in boiler furnaces produces steam. The recovered heat activates gigantic turbines to produce electricity. In total, the plant is expected to generate 950,000 MWh / year. Enough to cover 100% of the electricity needs of the capital’s 12 subway lines. In 2020, Mexico City’s subway system will run on energy from trash!
The Mexican capital will be able to significantly reduce its fossil fuel consumption and consequently its greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve significant savings too. A great step forward for a city that lags far behind in terms of circular economy.
Credit Photo : ©Veolia