Biofuel plants to help city’s waste woes

Poland and Japan have offered to help Yangon address its growing rubbish disposal problem.

The waste problem in Yangon, the country’s commercial hub and most populous city, is increasing every day. Its main dump, the Htein Pin landfill in Hlaing Tharyar township, is nearly full.

The city of over seven million people produces up to 2,500 tonnes of rubbish a day, or about half a kilogram per person, according to the Yangon City Development Committee.

Experts warn that in four years, Yangon may have no place to dump its waste.

City officials said 220 acres out of the 290 acres at Htein Pin landfill are full, and about 1450 tonnes of waste are dumped there every day.

The Polish government has offered to loan Myanmar €50 million (K80.62 billion/US$55.05 million) for the construction of a biogas plant that will convert garbage to energy, a senior YCDC official said.

U Cho Tun Aung, head of the city’s Department of Pollution Control and Cleansing, said the plant will use Poland’s mechanical biological treatment technology, which can purify and digest waste.

“We can start the project in May if the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) gives the green light,” he said. “The project will take 10 years.”

During its initial phase, full-energy fuel will be produced from 1000 tonnes of waste a day, he said. The plant will produce compressed natural gas, liquid carbon dioxide, and fertiliser once fully operational.

Daw Tin Tin Win, a Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) MP for Bago Region, said that if the project is managed well it can solve the city’s garbage problem and be self-sustaining.

“We welcome the loan, but it needs to be really effective and managed well,” she told the parliament session on Monday.

Daw Aye Mya Mya Moe, an MP for Kyauktan township in Yangon Region, said the project can help prevent a recurrence of the 2018 fire at the dump that threatened the health of nearby residents.

“We can get modern technology from Poland and pay back the loan and interest by using the income from the project,” she said.

Legislators said there is a high consumption of plastics in Yangon and 60 percent of its waste can be recycled, but the city needs a waste separation plan.

Daw Naw Hla Hla Soe, an Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House) MP, urged the city to strictly monitor the project’s expenses.

The Polish loan is repayable over 62 years at 0.1pc interest per year.

When fully operational, the project promises to produce 30 tonnes of compress natural gas, 40 tonnes of liquid carbon dioxide, 180 tonnes of derivative waste fuel, and 250 tonnes of compost daily from 1,000 tonnes of waste.

Aside from the Polish loan, the Japanese government is funding another project that promises to convert 60 tonnes of trash per day into fuel in Hlawga Park in Shwe Pyi Thar township.

The YCDC said several other foreign companies have proposed to build biofuel plants in Yangon, but the city government has yet to act on the proposals.

“We can’t work with some companies, as they want to produce electricity from trash that would cost between K150 and K170 per unit,” said U Cho Tun Aung. “The country can’t afford that but can only afford K90 per unit.”

The companies also want the YCDC to pay trash incineration fees of $22 per tonne.

He said the YCDC only collects K600 per month from each household for trash collection, so the price difference is huge.

Most of the companies that want to generate electricity from waste are from Thailand, Japan, and the US, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy said.

Under the Myanmar Energy Master Plan, the yearly electricity output of Myanmar could continue at about 500 megawatts until 2030. – Translated

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Source : Myanmar Times

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