Monday, February 2, 2009

Promotion of Comprehensive Master Plan for Waste-to-Energy in Korea

Hyun-hee Lee (PhD)
Waste-to-Energy Specialist
Korea Environment & Resources Corporation

The waste management has become more and more difficult recently as the economic development has brought the continuous increase of amount and types of wastes from daily life. In order to solve the root of such waste management problem, the establishment of Zero Waste Society which maximizes the waste reduction and recycle, thereby decreasing the use of natural resources and minimizing environmental pollution from wastes, is required. The increase of energy price, in particular, has shift the paradigm from the 2E with Environment and Economy, into 3E era of additional Energy element. Under such paradigm shift, the increased use of new renewable energy is urgently needed to substitute the dwindling supplies of fossil fuels and to prepare for global climate change. Ministry of Environment (MOE) established the Comprehensive Master Plan for Waste-to-Energy in May this year to recognize the waste as new energy source, and to restraint the ocean dumping of liquid organic wastes which contains increased restriction due to the high price of oil, carbon gas reduction, and the London Convention-1996 Protocol.
2007 data of the waste-to energy profile in Korea shows that in waste solid fuel field, one RDF manufacturing facility (80 ton/day), and 34 private RPF manufacturing facility (37,000 ton/day) have been under operation. Even though biogasfication industry which uses food waste, sewage sludge, and livestock night soil are partially active, its scale and feasibility are yet insignificant. Therefore, the plan recognizes the potential energy production scale as 12,180,000 ton/year through the use of combustible wastes and organic wastes, and aims to produce waste-to-energy of 3800,000 ton / year by 2012. Furthermore, the plan intends to produce 1,280,000 ㎥/year from residual heat from incineration and landfill gas of 308,160㎥/day.

The detailed plan for facility expansion comprises the total of 57 facilities, including manufacturing RDF facilities for combustible wastes with powers plants, and biogasfication facilities for organic wastes with power plants by 2012.
Also, landfill gas collector facilities will be supported to 27 local government landfill sites, and bioreactor project will be initiated on 14 landfill sites of medium and large scale. In addition, the construction of Waste Energy Town in each region, with comprehensive, combined and focused facilities, will be promoted to increase the financial efficiency.
Technology development will be accelerated through close linkage with Eco-Star, and CDM projects, mainly focusing on the landfill gas collection, biogasfication for organic wastes, RDF for combustible wastes, and residual heat recovery from incineration projects.
The budget for the expansion plan of Waste-to-Energy facilities is predicted as 320 billion won by 2012. Among the total budget, support from national treasury will be 98,56 billion won, and private investment will support 128.44 billion won.

The expected outcomes from the Comprehensive Master Plan for Waste-to-Energy include the financial benefit of 133.73 billion won every year from reduced amount of wastes management and reduced use of fossil fuel, as well as reduced green house gas impacts. Also, the construction and operation of the facilities will lead to 17,000 employments. In environmental point of view, the amount of landfill wastes will be decreased to 20% of the current, and the nation will be strengthen to actively react to green house gas deduction requirement, to be required from 2013, as well as to London Convention-1996 Protocol, on ocean dumping. Therefore, the Comprehensive Master Plan for Waste-to-Energy is expected to much contribute to global problems.

*Copyrights: International Urban Training Center