The stench of tons of compressed waste is something you get used to. High above the warehouse floor, tightly packed bales of British rubbish are stacked and waiting to be burned, across the North Sea from the homes in Bristol and Birmingham that produced them.
In a modern plant wedged between pine and granite on the edge of Oslo, Nordic power company Fortum is using British rubbish to generate electricity and warmth for a nearby district-heating project. This energy- from-waste plant alone incinerates 45 tons of rubbish at 850 degrees Celsius every hour.
“It’s the smell of money,” laughs Pal Mikkelsen, the plant’s director.
For years Norway has charged British cities to take their waste while creating a valuable source of heat and energy on the side. Now it has plans to create a third source of income from UK rubbish.
Mikkelsen is eager to explain how the work being done at his plant could play a role in helping his country take Britain’s carbon emissions too.
The Fortum plant is vying with other high-carbon industrial players to be part of a radical national programme to turn carbon capture into a new pan-European industry, with Norway in the driving seat.