Waste power: New technology turns garbage into energy

14:16 | 20/09/2019 Science - Technology

(VEN) - The Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB) under the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology in coordination with Japan’s MILAI Corporation have launched organic waste treatment technology for renewable energy. The move follows a five-month waste treatment trial at the Thu Duc Agricultural Product Wholesale Market in Ho Chi Minh City.

new technology turns garbage into energy

Difficulties in waste treatment

According to SIHUB, Ho Chi Minh City discharges almost 9,000 tonnes of solid waste each day. Much of it is buried, a time consuming and polluting solution.

Ho Chi Minh City has 26 collection facilities where waste is transported for pre-processing before being taken to treatment facilities. The city annually spends nearly VND4 trillion to deal with trash, including nearly VND1.2 trillion for domestic wastewater treatment, VND700 billion for sweeping, VND88 billion for garbage classification, and VND1.8 trillion for waste treatment. Despite the high budget, the efficiency of these processes has not met expectations.

With the current technologies, organic waste is processed into compost fertilizers and biogas, which takes up much space and a long time to process, pollutes the environment and is expensive to transport. However, the new technology enjoys distinct advantages for using organic waste to generate electricity and make organic fertilizers.

Japanese technology

The new technology can turn waste to energy more efficiently than traditional power generation from burning waste (which is high in moisture and requires oil for burning). The process consists of two primary stages - the waste treatment itself and electric cars used for garbage collection. The waste is then dried, carbonized and gasified to be used by gas engines to generate power. The electricity is used to charge the vehicles, forming a closed loop with no CO2 emissions. In addition, fertilizers can also be created through the process. Compared to the current technologies, the new technology saves time and space, and does not pollute the environment.

In addition to its time-saving and clean air advantages, the technology also offers greater flexibility by allowing a wide range of productivity ranges (from 100kg to 25 tonnes per machine every day), and can be used in a wide variety of locations in rural and urban areas. It is suitable for both centralized and rural waste disposal models, with the latter saving heavy costs of waste transport.

The technology has been backed by the Japanese government, and improved to suit Vietnam’s diversified waste sources. Its effects have been already been proven in a five-month test on waste treatment at the Thu Duc Agricultural Product Wholesale Market in Ho Chi Minh City.

With an estimated amount of organic waste of 80-100 tonnes per day at the Binh Dien Wholesale Market, waste transport costs VND10 billion per year. The application of organic waste treatment technology will not only save transport costs, but also reduce environmental pollution at the market as well as during the process to move the garbage to the landfill.

Given its distinct advantages, SIHUB is working with the MILAI Corporation to transfer the technology to Vietnamese partners.

SIHUB Director Huynh Kim Tuoc said waste from food accounts for 83-88.9 percent of solid waste in Ho Chi Minh City. With new regulations for classifying the garbage, the application of an organic waste treatment technology for renewable energy is very suitable, Tuoc said.

Bao Ngoc