Thousands of homes in a new neighbourhood in Eindhoven are getting heating and electricity from an unexpected source: garden clippings. The Meerhoven Bioenergy plant is one of the biggest of its kind. The plant can be compared to a modern wood-burning stove (heating) which is linked to a generator (electricity).
The result is a win-win situation: Meerhoven no longer needs to spend a lot of money on transporting the biodegradable waste from gardens, parks and forests. The neighbourhood hardly needs any more expensive fossil fuels, and the CO2 emissions from the wood-burning plant are automatically compensated by the growth of new trees.
But does Eindhoven have enough garden clippings for such a big plant? "Not exactly," admits the sustainability counsellor Joost Helms. "We have to import a small percentage from neighbouring communities. On the other hand, in the past we had to transport our garden clippings to Denmark. Imagine how much pollution that caused!"