BusinessTuesday 16 May 2017

Sustainable Romania – turning waste into electricity

Sustainability is a way of living and doing things that is of becoming increasingly appreciated and increasingly necessary at an international level and Romania has a huge potential in this regard

Sieni

As coal and oil were considered essential for a state’s economy in the last 200 years or so, with the 21st century the focus seem to be leaning more towards new types of assets such as biodiversity, harnessing sea or wind power, or maximizing sunlight energy: in other words, using alternative forms of energy. However, it is not enough to benefit from these conditions, but also to know how to capitalize on them. Countries like the Nordic states or large portions of Western Europe have already initiated national policies in this regard, attempting to recycle and (re)use everything that nature provides.

In Romania such trend slowly began to catch on but sustainability in the country is performed locally and on an ad hoc basis, rather than nationally and in an organized manner. However, given that Romania enjoys favorable climatic conditions for the use of any kind of renewable energy, the country’s potential is huge, especially since the business of sustainability can be not only very profitable, but also highly praised and publicized.

This is exactly what happened to the achievement of a small town in Maramureș, which became famous for its ingenious way of turning an environmental problem into a solution beneficial to the entire community. The problem was the pollution generated from animal waste, the township being know in the region for its livestock activities. The situation was worrying given that the waste had come to affect agricultural land and city dwellers were also complaining of odors coming from the farms.

As such, with a well thought project and with little support from the Ministry of Environment and the World Bank, local authorities managed to build a biogas plant that converts the animal waste into heat and then into electricity. This achievement was extremely well received by locals, who are especially excited that they will pay less on heat and electricity, while their odor problem was also partly resolved. City officials are equally happy because the new system spares them from public lighting and waste disposal costs, thus allowing them to spend the money saved on other useful project for the future of the town and its inhabitants.

Claudiu Bolcu

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