Transforming waste into gold: Taichung City's Compost
Plant in Waipu District becomes a Green Energy Eco Park
Words and photos provided by Information Bureau of Taichung City Government
Translated by Anna Yang
Taichung City Government is continuing its mission to promote renewable energy sources with its commitment to create a new Green Energy Ecological Park--Taiwan's first--in Waipu District. By generating power with rice straw, this initiative will achieve the miraculous ideal of turning waste into "gold" (recycled material) to create beneficial outcomes for our environment and local farmers while boosting economic development.
Waipu's compost plant has been closed since October, 2008, when development restrictions led to the demise of this dilapidated facility. However, the Taichung City Environmental Protection Bureau has now been given authority to promote anaerobic waste treatment technology under the Act for Promotion of Private Participation in Infrastructure Projects and the city government is determined to promote green energy by transforming the abandoned plant into a Green Energy Ecological Park. This Waipu District "miracle" will not be limited to generating power with rice straw, as power will also be generated by food waste in Taiwan's first and largest green energy eco park. This project also echoes President Tsai Ing-wen's inaugural speech titled "Transforming Taiwan into a Recycling Economy and Turning Waste into Renewable Resources".
Waipu's Green Energy Ecological Park will create several positive outcomes including:
1. Boosting job opportunities and bringing the old compost plant back to life.
2. Decreasing the use of the incineration plant and helping to extend its lifetime.
3. Increasing farmers' incomes via the purchase of rice straw, thereby reducing air pollution normally created by the outdoor burning of straw refuse.
4. Generating power and producing organic fertilizer for the 2018 World Flora Expo.
5. Positioning Waipu's Green Energy Ecological Park as a Flora Expo tourist attraction with its abundance of environmental educational functions.
Local area officials, promoting the ecological park via speeches and seminars, have garnered the support of 75% of residents for this project. The Taichung City Environmental Protection Bureau is also working to get funding from the central government to support this unprecedented national recycling economic model.
By rough estimates, rice fields in Dajia, Waipu, Houli, and Da'an districts occupy about 4,000 hectares and create about 50,000 tons rice straw per year (capable of producing 50,000,000 kWh of generated power), sufficient to meet the yearly power requirements of 104,300 households. This will also result in an annual reduction of air pollutants by 26,000 tons.
The daily capacity for composting kitchen waste by anaerobic fermentation will produce 5,400,000kWh of power per year, enough to supply annual power supply to 1,550 households, while reducing air pollutants by 6,144 tons per year.
The official contract for the Taichung Waipu Green Energy Ecological Park, featuring anaerobic waste treatment and rice straw gasification power generation technologies, was issued on August 28 this year with groundbreaking taking place on October 24 and a total budget of NT$6 billion. Upon completion, scheduled for August, 2018, the park is to be operated on a Rebuild-Operate-Transfer (ROT) basis.