ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Refuse power grows in Thailand
Narongsak Kamales, the governor of the Provincial Electricity Authority, said more than 20 municipalities had expressed enthusiasm about the plan, but only nine had taken any steps so far. They include Muang Rayong, Muang Chon Buri and Kamphaeng Saen in Nakhon Pathom province.
Waste-to-energy projects are being operated under the very small power producer (VSPP) programme. To expand the use of renewable resources to 20 percent of the country's power generation needs by 2021 from 8 percent now, the government is offering the incentive of an adder tariff, a special rate that state utilities pay for power from producers using renewable sources.
The adder tariff being offered for power generation from waste is 3.50 baht beyond the standard rate per kilowatt/hour.
"Ten more power plants will come online this year," said Mr. Narongsak.
The development is aimed at both slowing the growth of landfills nationwide and cutting methane emissions from waste under landfills. The greenhouse gas is 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Power generation from waste depends on technologies such as biogas, pyrolysis (decomposition or transformation of a compound via heat) and incineration. The latest technique is homogenisation, developed by South Korea-based Eco Creation Co.
Pinyo Tanviset, the chairman of Clean City Co, which holds a landfill management licence from Si Racha municipality, said his company was testing machinery and equipment from Eco Creation that could produce diesel and fuel oil from waste.
Clean City will soon pay 80 million baht (US$2.65 million) for an homogeniser with daily diesel output of 900 litres and a 1.6-MW power generator.
Waste plastic homogenisation is a restoring process that produces oil by heating and decomposing waste plastics in the reverse direction from manufacturing plastic products, with the oil used as a raw material in the petrochemical industry.
Mr. Pinyo's licensed landfill has accumulated more than 300,000 tonnes of waste, mostly plastics. About 100 tonnes arrive each day from Muang Chon Buri and Si Racha.
Thailand has 93 landfills, each containing at least 300,000 tonnes of waste, said Sompong Tancharenphol, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries and chairman of the Thailand Institute of Packaging and Recycling Management for Sustainable Environment (TIPMSE).
"Such huge amounts of waste sitting under landfills for long periods will make an impact on the environment, as most of the garbage is plastics that take at least 400 years to degrade," he said.
The Pollution Control Department said Thailand produced 15.1 million tonnes of all types of waste in 2009 – 50 percemt decomposable organic compounds, 42 percent recyclable waste such as glass, steel, paper and plastics, 3% hazardous waste and the rest construction materials and scrap.
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