Genova - Rovegno, a small town near Genoa, is modelling itself on a cruise ship. Not with some outlandish design from a celebrated architect, but rather a project for waste treatment. As the mayor, Giuseppe Isola, explained: “Summing it all up, we want to create a waste treatment plant similar to what’s used on large cruise ships, where garbage is broken down to powder, and then used as fuel”.
The stimulus for the mayor’s idea in fact came while he was on a cruise; “I started by asking the most obvious question, that is: where does all the waste on a ship end up? Once I found out the answer, I told myself that if waste can be transformed out at sea, the same thing should be possible on land. Especially in a municipality such as this one, where the total number of inhabitants (500 residents who swell to 2,000 in summer) is roughly equal to that of passengers on a cruise.” Once he had identified the challenge, Isola started to search for the company that specializes in on-board disposal plants. Having located the firm, what followed was organizing a meeting and the project took off. The company, located near Turin, is called Ompeco, and designs treatment plants capable of processing 400 tons per year: “This is an ecologically sustainable solution, which won’t produce any air or water emission, and it can recycle the useful parts of waste matter, and to obtain a high-quality by-product, called CSS, which is completely dry and, reduced to powder form, can be used as fuel to generate electricity”, revealed the small inland municipality’s report.
Regarding the size of the treatment plant: “It’s smaller than a railwayman’s cottage,” said Isola, “and we have lots of spaces and old buildings that can be repurposed for the task.” Using this process, it would no longer be necessary to transport the garbage far away, offering savings on transport. The machinery that transforms the waste is called a converter: “Converter machines are able to handle the treatment of different types of waste; they sterilize or disinfect it, modify its constitution and reduce its volume and weight, as well as dehydrate it. The process used is patented and applies to all their models because the same principle is used across their entire model range.”