The Orlando delegation’s goal was to explore how successful waste-to-energy sustainability initiatives in Denmark can benefit metro Orlando, as well as its residents and businesses.

Orlando Delegation in Copenhagen 2

Orlando is turning to the world’s most happy people to learn how we can fuel our future.

Last November, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and a team of representatives from the City Beautiful and Orlando Economic Partnership, as well as other stakeholders, took a mission trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. The Orlando delegation’s goal was to explore how successful waste-to-energy sustainability initiatives in Denmark can benefit metro Orlando, as well as its residents and businesses.

Hosted by Copenhagen-based biogas expert Bigadan A/S, the Orlando representatives were immersed in the world-leading sustainability and innovation for which Denmark is renowned.

Bigadan has more than 35 years of international experience in practical use of waste-to-energy biogas technology, including renewable energy production, manure and organic waste treatment as well as nutrient recycling. Today Bigadan owns and operates several commercial plants which also serve as test and development sites.

Even though biogas production is not a new industry, there is still great potential to be realized as the need for green energy solutions increases worldwide. Many U.S. cities have begun to embrace this type of alternative energy source, as waste-to-energy facilities offer significant environmental protection, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and play an important complementary role in recycling efforts.

The State of Florida, along with many Florida counties and cities, has adopted sustainable initiatives, as well as created departments and programs within the last few decades. The City of Orlando is no exception.

In 2007 the city launched the Green Works Orlando initiative, which is committed to sustainability and developing goals to enhance the community’s quality of life, generate diverse economic growth, and create equitable access to resources and services. As a result, the city created the Office of Sustainability & Resilience with the mission to implement the Green Works Orlando initiative. It accomplishes this by coordinating with city departments and community stakeholders to guarantee the effectiveness of immediate and long-term sustainability planning efforts, which included the development of a “Sustainability” chapter in the city’s Municipal Code.

“I am proud to say that, since 2007, the City of Orlando has been steadily rising in the ranks as one of the ‘greenest cities in America’,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. 

“We hope to learn more about biogas and sustainability initiatives from our Danish friends and bring the best practices back to the City Beautiful. Working together, I know we can make a cleaner, greener, and better Orlando for generations to come.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

According to the American Biogas Council, which is a national trade organization that promotes the growth of the biogas industry, the U.S. has 2,300 sites producing biogas in 50 states with the potential to build more than 15,000 new biogas systems. These systems not only promote green initiatives, but they’re also a driver for economic growth by creating jobs in construction, engineering, project management and more.

During the mission trip, the delegation gained in-depth insight into the history and evolution of the Danish approach to climate and energy policy. Representatives also learned about Danish experiences with nutrient recycling from organic waste to agricultural production, food waste to energy value-stream, and Copenhagen’s program for residential food waste used as biomass in Bigadan’s biogas plant at Solrød with the goal of learning how to replicate best practices here in the City Beautiful.

The mission team wrapped up with an in-depth reflection of the main takeaways, asked additional questions of Bigadan team, and mapped out the next-steps to help secure success for a sustainable business landmark project utilizing the biogas waste-to-energy solution right here in Orlando.