Art can also exist in the burning of waste. It is the aim of the Amagerforbrænding power plant in Copenhagen (Denmark). Instead of covering industrial processes, the plant transforms the smoke emitted into a giant ring for each 250 kg of CO2 produced. This is meant to make the Danes aware of what the air pollution is.
Amagerforbrænding , the new waste-to-energy plant is an innovative model in the field of waste management and energy production. It will be launched in 2016, and is located just three kilometers from the center of Copenhagen, being the largest facility of its kind in the Danish country, with a cost of 500 million euro.
This plant will process 435,000 tons of waste per year, generating enough energy to supply 140,000 homes.
Rather than hiding the gray industrial processes, the plant hopes to reconnect the Danes with the debate on waste management. The architectural concept of the Danish firm BIG, is to turn the plant into an artificial landscape near the city of Copenhagen. The power plant will also build a 31,000 m2 park, with a climbing wall and a lake where you can practice different activities, and includes a snow track on its roof for skiing.
The art of waste
A group of artists have designed an elegant exhaust system for the plant. It turns the smoke emitted in a symbol of the path of our waste on their way to the atmosphere. Instead of a constant flow of exhaust gases, the plant emits a giant smoke ring for each quarter ton of carbon dioxide produced. The rings will be 25 meters in diameter and 5 meters high. As they go up slowly, the water inside the gas clouds will condense to display each ring floating in the air.
The mechanism for creating these rings is simple. An elastic cylinder on the ceiling expands to store the plant ‘s smoke. When one quarter ton of CO2 fills the drum, a shutter opens, and the drum suddenly shrinks, expelling the gas into the sky. When leaving the drum, the gas starts to rotate due to friction between the particles of air and gas.
This giant demonstration of Bernoulli’s Principle lasts several minutes. The rings are stabilized by the movement of the particles as they float outside in contact with the atmosphere, slowly dissolving. This phenomenon can also be found in nature. For example, this happens on Mount Etna, where its smoke rings measure up to 200 meters in diameter and have a maximum duration of 10 minutes.
A communication system
The artists who have created such an idea intend to restore an archaic method of communication, communication by smoke. In fact, on a clear day, this message can be seen throughout the city. It has been estimated that the plant could emit about 2.4 million of them a year, pitching something like an endless stream, ring by ring, into the atmosphere. These rings are ejected through a chimney BIG Vortex.
At night these rings may also be seen as they will be lit by a green laser.
This solemn procession opens an abstract debate about the scale of emissions; people can see and talk about it.
But what looks like bad news is not. In fact, efficiency measures incorporated in the burning of waste at Amagerforbrænding reduce the environmental impact to a minimum. Although the technology is not perfect, it is considered the best solution. Sophisticated methods alone will not stop climate change. At the end of the day it will only serve to know the total amount of absolute emissions, but it is an interesting idea because it is a way to raise awareness that even with huge machines that clean waste behind us, the limits of the planet on which we live can no longer be ignored. Only our ability to adapt our lives to these limits will be helpful.