A biomass energy plant in Taichung was inaugurated for test run on Nov. 1, marking a major step forward for Taiwan in the development of green energy.
The plant was built by Hoshanlin Green Energy, a subsidiary of environmental engineering firm Shanshuilin, at NT$635 million on ROT (reconstruction, operation, transfer) basis, for which the builder signed a contract with Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau on the inauguration ceremony on Nov. 1.
Kuo Shu-chen, Shanshuilin chairperson, pointed out that the biomass energy plant involves renovation and transformation of a former compost plant, which has been idled for 10 years. Dubbed as "Waipu green energy ecological park," it is the first biomass energy plant in Taiwan, boasting the technologies of "kitchen-waste anaerobiosis power generation" and "rice-straw vaporization power generation."
Wu Jen-chieh, general manager of Shanshuilin, noted that the city government will assist the company in purchasing rice straw from neighboring farmers (at NT$1,000 per metric tons) for subjection to vaporization treatment for use in power generation, avoiding the air-pollution problem caused by open-air incineration of the material in the past. Another material will be recycled kitchen waste, which will be subject to anaerobiosis treatment before use in power generation. A side benefit is lessening of the load on local incinerators, extending their life.
The plant is furnished with a cutting-edge foreign anaerobiosis fermentation system, capable of converting kitchen waste into marsh gas as fuel for power generation, with maximum power output reaching 550-660 kW/h, and high-temperature vapor and water deriving from power-generation process can be recycled for reuse in heating the anaerobiosis fermentation system. The container of marsh gas-fueled generator is a low-noise model, conforming to environmental-protection requirement.
The plant will generate 33.77 million kWh of power a year, capable of supplying the needs of near 10,000 households, cutting CO2 emission by 17,834 tons a year, equivalent to the contribution of 870,000 trees or seven metropolitan parks, according to Wu Jen-chieh. It will process 54,000 metric tons of kitchen waste and 50,000 metric tons of rice straw annually. The ROT contract for the facility will last 25 years.
Shanshuilin stressed that a mature technology in industrially developed countries, biomass energy will be a major trend for circular economy in Taiwan. It can contribute to the solution of the serious problem of kitchen waste, whose high salty contents can significantly shorten the usage life of incinerators. The company plans to further push biomass energy to other areas in Taiwan.
(First photo courtesy of Shanshuilin)