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November 28th, 2014:

Shek Kwu Chau incinerator requires careful look

28 November, 2014


Howard Winn

The Legislative Council finance committee is again poised to give the go-ahead for funding the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator. We hope the committee will take a careful look at this project. This so-called Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) is to be built at a total capital and operating cost adjusted for inflation of HK$45 billion.

It is supposed to handle 3,000 tonnes a day of municipal solid waste (MSW) as a waste-to-energy plant. However, unlike every other major world city, the input feedstock is unseparated and unrecycled MSW. Some 50 per cent of this MSW is organic food and green waste with a minimum water content of 70 per cent. This means that 35 per cent of the 3,000 tonnes a day is water, or 1,050 tonnes of water. Since water does not burn, this means that the input fuel stock is actually 1,950 tonnes a day. Of this one-third is left as toxic top and bottom ash after combustion with atmospheric oxygen – 650 tonnes a day.

The net MSW to be dealt with at the IWMF next to Shek Kwu Chau will therefore be 1,300 tonnes a day. Comparative incinerators in other locations presume fuel feedstock that has been quality recycled and packaged. Shek Kwu Chau will need additional energy inputs like coal to burn this low energy value MSW and will have no viable energy output worth connecting, as it is located too far away from existing power generation networks to be worth the cost.