Ever since I arrived in Copenhagen, I have been told many great things about Copenhill. Apparently, it is one of the cleanest waste to energy power plants in the world. I find this to be very interesting. If Copenhill truly is the great new option for generating energy in a clean and eco-friendly manner, this could lead to positive changes in air composition, water quality, and environmental conditions.
I want to use this opportunity to study Copenhill deeper and find out if it’s in fact a new revolutionary sustainable energy model for future waste projects. Which could lead us one step closer to protecting and preventing our planet’s biodiversity from future mass extinctions. Can a modern incineration plant be super efficient producing district heating and also create a biodiversity rich location in an urban setting?
Nowadays, Denmark is proudly known for its modern green technology and infrastructure. It is especially notable for the powerplant known as Copenhill located in Copenhagen. Ever since this powerplant came to life in 2011, it has been known to be one of the single largest environmental initiatives in Denmark. Copenhill has received many awards for its incredible waste treatment and environmental performance such as: Scandinavian Green Roof Award, EcoTechGreen Award in the category ‘Green Technology and Green Infrastructure’, ArchDaily Building of the Year Award, and Design That Educates Award in the category ‘Architectural Design’.
In general, power plants that are usually fired by coal are known for being the largest source of contamination and contribution to climate change and the future of our planet’s biodiversity and health. However, there is something different and fascinating about Copenhill’s multifunctional modern architectural monument. CopenHill provides enough energy for 80,000 homes in Copenhagen to have electricity and warm water by using a waste-to-energy system with rubbish and smoke rings. It receives around 300 trucks of rubbish a day. The waste is then incinerated in giant combustion boilers that turn the exhaust into heat and electricity. Ash produced by the boilers gets spray dried and cleaned in order to remove hazardous chemicals. The ash can then be recycled and used for aggregate.
This modern design icon has a grassy ski slope, cafe/bar, and a hiking path on its roof, allowing the plant to double as a public gathering space and a wild mountain nature for many different animal and plant species. The most exciting and dramatic park in the city is now sitting on the bedrock of a power plant. Rasmus Grandelag, the studio manager for SLA Copenhagen, is the one who helped come up with this innovative idea of creating a green rooftop park on top of Copenhill. With 7000 bushes and 300 trees, I would say that this hill is a form of some kind of nature. Mainly Salix, Crataegus, Hippophae rhamnoides, Prunus and Sorbus were planted as the bushes and scrub species. The main species for trees are Pinus and Willow, also with some Oak mixed in.
This impressive nature based rooftop design has acted as a ‘green bomb’ that not only will vibrantly green up the area, but also provide a home for many birds, bees, butterflies, and flowers. In 2020, Biologists had discovered that there were 56 more plant and tree species that were observed than the year before. They came to the conclusion that the strong winds at the top of the energy plant are so strong that it helps benefit the dispersal of seeds, which leads to more plant species. This modern incineration plant forms a new urban ecosystem for Copenhagen.
After conducting my studies further on Denmark’s ecological footprint, I can see why Denmark is considered one of the world’s greenest countries in the world. Copenhill is a true example of a sustainable model for future waste projects. This fairly new advanced technology is definitely different from many of the power plants located in the United States of America.