THE EARTH TIMES
MAY 29 – JUNE 15, 1996
Incinerator defrays third of cost by selling electricity
By Ashali Varma
TAIPEI—On the outskirts of Taipei, surrounded by lush green forested hills, there is a huge
building with a furnace and a smokestack that reaches hundreds of feet into the sky. Unlike most smokestacks this one does not belch out grey polluted smoke and it is colorfully painted to the top with a giant giraffe, as if an artist decided that even a refuse plant should have aesthetic appeal.
Built in 1995, the Mu-Cha Refuse Incineration plant is the largest in Taiwan. And according
to the EPA Administrator, Lung Sheng Chang, it is one of the most effective means for a small country with a large population to get rid of household waste .
The plant is equipped to handle 1500 tons of garbage a day and the power generated by the incineration of refuse is 13,500 Kilowatts per hour. Chang said, “We use 4000 Kilowatts to run the plant and 9000 kilowatts is sold the Taiwan Power Company.”
The annual cost of operation NT$180 million (US$7.2 million), but through the sale of power
The Taiwan Power Company the plant recoups NT$60 million (US$2.4 million) a year.
After treatment, only 10 percent of the original solid waste is left in the form of slag and fly
ash. Currently the plant transports this to sanitary land fills, but there are plans to sell this to brick factories. “Slag can be used make bricks for pavements and parks,” Chang said, “These brick are special because they are porous and let water go through them, so rainwater can seep through to the soil beneath.”
The waste water is treated and can be used for sewage and sanitation in Taipei city. In addition, the Mu-Cha incinerator is equipped with state-of –the-art pollution control devices. The electrostatic precipitation and wet scrubber systems neutralize 99 percent of the hydrochloric acid and sulphur dioxide from the emissions. So, the citizens of Taipei are able to get rid of their garbage without the problems of air pollution and growing landfills on the outskirts.
“By the end of the decade we will have 15 incinerators in Taiwan and 75 percent of the total household waste will be treated.”