What Could a Bi-Partisan Group of Washington Legislators Learn from Denmark?
It turns out quite a lot.
Here’s why: Denmark became the first country in the world to announce that it would lead the transition to a clean growth economy entirely independent of fossil fuels by 2050. It is now very focused on finding integrated solutions across the sectors of energy, water, climate, resources and the environment. This clear vision and commitment has resulted in a range of innovative approaches and projects that powerfully demonstrate how to build a workable clean economy that results in new industries and jobs for cities across Denmark.
Today a bi-partisan delegation of Legislators, half Republican and half Democrat, representing districts from across the State are embarking on in-depth ‘Prosperity from Sustainable Infrastructure and Energy’ study tour to Denmark. They recognize it could provide a wealth of information about both proven, pragmatic projects as well as innovative new ideas, that could translate into real economic opportunity in their districts and across Washington State. This is the second major trip attended by a dozen legislators and funded by the Scan/Design Foundation, with CSI and i-SUSTAIN teaming up to make it happen.
Here are a few examples of what Legislators (and other stakeholders like CSI) will study over the course of the week and consider adapting in Washington State:
Solrød Biogas: Turning Agricultural Waste + Seaweed into More Value
Solrød Biogas offers an intriguing look at agricultural industrial symbiosis – whereby a range of feedstock materials including seaweed, livestock waste, food waste and industrial waste (organic waste residuals from biotech companies in the nearby area) are turned into value in a number of different ways. For example, turning liquid manure into a biological fertilizer. The plant is also the first of its kind in Denmark to produce sustainable energy from seaweed. There’s more: when operating, the plant is capable of producing heat for some 1,700 households and electricity for 3,800 households.
Kalundborg: Pioneer of Industrial Symbiosis
CSI has been intrigued with Kalundborg for years. We’ll re-visit this small city, about an hour from Copenhagen, which pioneered an important and interesting economic development model. Industrial Symbiosis. Simply put, industrial symbiosis helps ‘match make’ between co-located industries, so that one industry’s waste becomes another industry’s resource. The result? Huge material-energy- water savings for the industry, coupled with important environmental benefits.
Today, Kalundborg's Industrial Symbiosis is generating $28 Million a year in economic value in a city of just 17,000 residents and reducing carbon emissions by 600,000/tons/year. The system consists of 6 private partners, 3 public partners, over 5,000 employees combined and 25 different resource streams exchanged.
Samsø Island: Renewable Powered island
We’ll explore Samsø Island, which was able to become self-sufficient with renewable energy in less than 10 years. Some of the key power and industry elements include: a straw-based district heating plant; wind and solar energy; a district heating plant based on 75% woodchips and 25% solar thermal collectors.
Agro Business Park: An International Science Park – Tied to Agriculture, Food, Bioenergy and More
We’re excited to learn more about ABP, an international science park with a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation within agriculture, food, bioenergy and environmental technologies. It is located next to Aarhus University’s research facility (including a research digester). We’re also intrigued about ABP’s participation in an EU funded initiative called ValueWaste – whereby urban waste can be upcycled for the production of high-value bio-based products.
CSI will be sharing information about the trip through social media and will be developing additional blogs to share learnings from the trip.