Making cities sustainable (Day 61)

Bridge reflection across the River Clyde at nightWith the Commonwealth Games in full swing, and an estimated one million tickets sold for 250 medal events, Glasgow in the UK is the place to be this summer!

But with tens of thousands of expected visitors as well as the 4,500 athletes taking part, it is fair to assume that a lot of waste is going to be produced.

And then there’s the carbon emissions associated with spectator and participant travel to and from the games.

So, naturally, making these Commonwealth Games sustainable and environmentally friendly is an important part of the agenda.

In the run up to the games, an announcement was made to say that at least 80 per cent of the waste produced for the 11 day competition will either be recycled or reused.

This poses a big challenge, and chemical engineers can offer their expertise to provide practical solutions during the games and even after, once the athletes and spectators have left.

BP Target Neutral, BP’s not-for-profit carbon management programme, has been tasked with helping minimise the carbon footprint of spectator travel.

Spectators are encouraged to register their journey to the games, and BP Target Neutral are offsetting their emissions by planting a tree in the Glasgow city woodlands for each journey registered.

After the festivities of the games are over, what will happen in terms of sustainability and environmental protection for Glasgow? It’s an important question that needs an equally important answer.

Green BinAnd the answer to that question involves chemical engineers and their role in helping use the waste produced in Glasgow that would have otherwise gone to landfill, as a source for energy.

A new facility to better manage the 200,000 tonnes of council green bin waste is under construction. The Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) is a £154 million project that is expected to be operational by early 2016.

The process that has been designed for efficiently recovering energy from waste involves residual (post recycling) waste being fed into a furnace and being burnt at a very high temperature.

The heat that is generated is used to create steam from water being pumped into the process. A boiler then superheats the steam to 400°C, which is then used to drive a turbine which then powers a generator to produce electricity.

This new facility will save Glasgow’s council tax payers approximately £254 million over its project lifetime, and it will additionally create 250 jobs and apprentices.

But I haven’t even told you the good news yet…the GRREC will produce enough electricity to power 22,000 homes and enough energy to heat some 8,000 homes in Glasgow. And on top of that, it will also incur an additional saving of 90,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

What a great example of how Glasgow and Scotland are working towards a sustainable future!

We can enjoy the atmosphere of the Commonwealth games, all the while knowing that in the future, processes are being put into place to help save the environment and reduce household bills.

One thought on “Making cities sustainable (Day 61)

  1. I have always thought that the most sustainable way to hold these kind of events is to have one re-usable world venue suitable for all major sporting event (winter olympics might be a problem) so that we do not keep spending money of new facilities that end up under utilised.

    The United Nations should take the lead in promoting such a venue.

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