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Thinking different

Submitted by admin on Dec 5th 2012, 12:00am



Howard Winn

Thinking different

We were interested to hear that Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing said recently that the Environmental Protection Department would study alternatives to traditional moving grate incineration for its Shek Kwu Chau project. Let’s hope this news filters down to EPD apparatchiks who until last week were still vigorously promoting the traditional moving grate incinerator, which they had lined up for the project.

Other forms of treating municipal waste such as plasma arc technology, which is rapidly gaining traction around the world, were dismissed by EPD assistant director Elvis Au Wai-kwong, who said the technology was untested and could only handle relatively small quantities of waste. Aecom, the government’s advisers in these matters, has advised going for traditional incineration. But, Aecom’s US arm seems to take a different view. Commenting on Milwaukee’s plans for a 1,200-tonne per day plant using plasma arc technology, Aecom’s Mike Zebell said: “We believe that this technology is not only environmentally friendly, but ready for large-scale commercialisation.” And Aecom’s counterpart in Britain does not seem opposed to the technology. Aecom will design, build and operate a £75 million (HK$933 million) gasification plant in Teesside, Britain. Given Aecom’s enthusiasm for adopting this technology, why the apparent reluctance to do so in Hong Kong?

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