Europäische Konferenz “Enhanced Landfill Mining” vom 14. bis 16. Oktober 2013 in Houthalen-Helchteren in Belgisch-Limburg

Houthalen-Helchteren ist vom 14. bis 16. Oktober 2013 Gastgeber der europäischen Konferenz “Enhanced Landfill Mining”. Die Stadt in Belgisch-Limburg entwickelt sich aktuell zum Wissenszentrum der Euregio in den Bereichen erneuerbare Energien sowie cradle-to-cradle-Verwertung von Rohstoffen.

Ready for international consortium and global market

The second international conference on converting landfilled waste into secondary raw materials and sustainable energy will be held in Houthalen-Helchteren (BE) in mid-October. Landfills all over the world can become the new energy source and resource mines of the 21st century. Belgium has the expertise in this area and is ready to act now.

Houthalen-Helchteren will be centre stage for a gathering of the European summit on “Enhanced Landfill Mining” from October 14th to 16th. It simply boils down to the fact that we now have the capability to convert landfills into the new “mines” of the 21st century, as these landfills contain enormous amounts of materials and energy that can be recovered.

Logical evolution

The Machiels Group from Limburg, Belgium has transformed an idea into a validated concept and into a concrete business case over the past few years, and it is now ready to put together an international industrial consortium and to enter the global market. According to Yves Tielemans – ELFM project manager – there are 1,700 landfills in Flanders and up to 500,000 in Europe. This has enormous potential on a global scale.

Filip Decosemaeker – Business Unit Manager of Remo Milieubeheer of the Machiels Group – explains the logical evolution of the company and the ELFM project. He says: “We first started out as a building company; after that we also became a supplier to the building sector by mining sand and silicon. A filling requirement was then instated to fill the pit that was left behind from the mining, and this is how the Group has further evolved into an environmental technology company in the broadest sense of the word, from waste management to renewable energy. These days we see that a landfill full of waste can be turned into a storage area for materials and energy, whereby the recovered land can be used for
many different purposes.

This is why the same basic principle applies to both the company and the project: “Closing the Circle.”

Broad scientific base

Yves Tielemans says that the entire ELFM concept relies on a broad scientific base. “We do not have our own R&D department”, states Tielemans, “our basic ideas – which are primarily driven by economics – are being researched, evaluated, challenged and tested by local and international scientists and research centres, which enables us to offer an objective external evaluation.”

Fifteen experts from a number of different European countries will also speak at the symposium in mid-October. The Machiels Group is only interested in well-founded information that is reviewed critically from all angles. Only then will the project stand so that it can be further implemented in a sustainable manner.

Logical for time and space

The dependency on fossil fuels is one thing, but concentrating primarily on petroleum is another, resulting in strategic political problems due to dependency. However, landfill sites are everywhere where people live. This is why ELF mining is also important from a geopolitical and environmental policy perspective, not to mention the economics, the amount of land that can be recovered and the jobs it can create.

Thus, this solution fulfils a number of aspirations from world leaders and economists in an incredible way, in particular since it is also a better alternative to the existing, traditional incineration of waste.

“Because, our process works for both fresh waste and excavated landfill sites,” say Tielemans and Decosemaeker.

Even though it is an ingenious technical, scientific and business concept, it only takes a brief explanation for the ordinary man on the street to understand it.

What still needs to be done

The idea has been transformed into a scientific concept. The landfill sites are relatively easy to find. The plans are ready to be implemented from a technical and financial standpoint. Therefore, to effectively start the excavation process, we still need the government to be innovative with respect to laws and regulations in this area.

“We have our own landfill right here in Houthalen-Helchteren with 16 million tons of waste that we can begin to excavate and process; however, now we need the necessary permits,” says project manager Yves Tielemans. He continues: “It is clear that our project is innovative and that current laws and regulations do not cover it. Therefore, it is also time for the government to innovate, in order to transform an endpoint (landfill) into a starting point (mine) and, this way, closing the loops.”

Filip Decosemaeker continues: “Excavating the Remo landfill site is a logical first step. This will practically close the circle. Besides, we can probably learn things from this step that we can implement later – in the rest of the world – to improve the process even further.”

Expected new developments

If you would like to attend the 2nd international symposium on “Enhanced Landfill Mining” from 14 – 16 October 2013, please go to elfm.eu where you will find the programme and registration form.

According to Tielemans and Decosemaeker, you can certainly expect to hear about a number of new developments.

PR & media: MTSS – Werner Couck – werner@mtss-net.biz – +32 495 28 14 67

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