Czech firm turning household waste into alternative fuel

30-07-2004

As the world's natural resources dwindle, and humans consume more and more energy, and pile up more and more waste, many people are beginning to look for alternatives. Firms throughout Europe specialise in finding new and innovative ways of recycling rubbish. Several dozen have sprung up in the Czech Republic.

I'm standing in a huge recycling centre on the outskirts of Prague. This firm takes household waste, breaks it down and turns it into alternative fuel. That fuel is then used for factories, such as cement works. I'm being shown around by the director, Jan Kysela. First of all Jan, how much alternative fuel do you produce every day?

Czech firm turning household waste into alternative fuelCzech firm turning household waste into alternative fuel "Depending on how much household waste is brought in, we can produce around 20 tons of alternative fuel over a period of 24 hours. The production line can't handle any more that."

Jan is now going to show me how the system works. We start with a huge pile of household waste on one side of the machine. The waste is taken along a huge shute, it's then seperated to make sure there are no bits of metal in it...so this is where the metal is removed?

"Yes, the metal is removed here. The machine is capable of removing pieces of metal as small as 1 cm in size."

After the metal has been removed from the rubbish, it's fed into a huge machine where it is broken up into tiny parts. This is it here...

We've come to the outside of the recycling plant now. In front of us is a huge pile of the end product, which is recycled, alternative fuel. It's used for the cement industry, making cement. But how clean, how environmental is it?

"In my opinion this fuel doesn't harm the environment."

And fundamentally, instead of burying waste in the ground, or burning it in incinerators, you're turning it into fuel.

"That's right. This waste would have ended up underground."

When you look at this plant and this alternative fuel, is this the future for you? Does this represent the future?

"Definitely. Disposing of rubbish in this manner is definitely the future."

So you think in the future there'll be more and more companies like this as we run out of fuel and as we look for other sources of fuel.

"Yes. We believe that in the future, alternative fuel like this will become a more valuable commodity."

30-07-2004