There’s a recently-constructed waste-to-energy plant located in Copenhagen, Denmark. And while that alone is not necessarily unusual, the artificial green ski slopes and park that sit atop the plant is!
amager bakke power plant
Beginning operation in 2017, the power plant converts trash into low-carbon energy through incineration. The waste silo capacity can hold up to 22,000 tons of trash. During incineration, air is pulled from the waste silo so no odors escape to the neighboring area.
In 2018, it converted about 450,000 tons of garbage into enough electricity to power 30,000 households and heat 72,000 households. The plant also has a flexible design so that it can adapt its production to what the city’s heating needs are.
the copenhill park
Now for the fun part. On top of the plant is CopenHill, which opened in 2019, a recreational facility with hiking trails, training areas, a rooftop terrace, and of course, the 1,480-foot ski slope. The key difference from a typical snow-covered mountain is that there is no snow anywhere on the course! It’s covered in artificial grass, a green turf that surprisingly has a similar amount of friction as a snow-covered slope.
CopenHill is home to the world’s highest artificial climbing wall. In addition, visitors can run stairs, snowboard, and go sledding. And at twelve stories high, you can also see Sweden across the way.
The greenery at CopenHill is not just artificial. There’s also lots of natural vegetation too, actual trees and plants growing throughout the park in and among the artificial vegetation. This includes 7,000 bushes, 300 pine and willow trees, real grass, and many types of plants.
The idea of this facility in Copenhagen is not as unusual as it may seem. After all, the city did pledge to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025. Designed by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, it combines both form and function (and function, actually!). It’s a waste conversion plant doubling as a ski slope, park, and recreational space. All this, plus a uniquely interesting green design built with sustainability in mind.
Sources: New York Times; CopenHill; Amager Bakke; Amager Resource Center