The Garbage Attraction

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SaigonTimes English - 26 month(s) ago 8 readings

The Garbage Attraction

Some garbage treatment projects in HCMC

By Phi Tuan

The attraction of wastes is now clearly seen, but millions of tons at landfills are still ignored
Some garbage treatment projects in HCMC

Tu Ngoc An, board chairman of Kien Giang Composite Co. (KGC), has paid a visit to Australia to finalize the whole plan of building a plant generating power from garbage in HCMC with Australian partner Trisun International Development Co.

Trisun International Development, a new name of the waste treatment field in Vietnam, has an advantage of applying the plasma technology which uses high temperature to burn garbage, recover material and generate power.

KGC and Trisun have planned to set up Trisun Energy Vietnam to run and manage the US$400-million plant in HCMC. With a treatment capacity of 2,000 tons of garbage per day, when commissioned, the plant will generate 1.63 million kWh per day, with 45% used for the operation of the plant and the rest connected to the national power grid.

All necessary procedures have been conducted so that the project can be submitted to the HCMC’s government soon. This plant has an advantage of treating fresh trash as well as garbage at landfills which are major concerns of the city residents. Once wastes at landfills are treated, the city will have a land fund with hundreds of hectares to bury more trash. However, the biggest obstacle this project encounters is the offered power selling rate at 12 cent per kWh, which is rather high compared to 7.8 cent per kWh of wind power. Besides, the treatment price of this project is US$26.8 for every ton of garbage while that of other treatment plants only ranges from US$12 to US$18 per ton.

The suggested price of Trisun may be fairly high, but An says the rate can be lowered if the city’s authorities offer incentive policies for investors in order to not only sort out the environmental problem but also create a new energy source. In addition to the plant in HCMC, a similar plant will go up in Hanoi, and the firm has also planned to expand its investment with 12 plants in other localities.

Garbage war

The project of Trisun can place HCMC at a shortage of garbage for similar projects as more waste treatment plants which have an average capacity of 1,000 tons per day have been developed by notable firms like VWS, Vietstar, Tam Sinh Nghia, Thanh Cong, Keppel Seghers Engineering and Urban Environment Co.

HCMC discharges around 7,000 tons of garbage every day, but a garbage recycling plant worth over US$10 million still remains inactive due to a lack of input. It is because this plant uses the treatment technology for garbage which has been classified whereas HCMC is not yet able to classify wastes.

Whilst awaiting the garbage classification program which provides input for the plant, David Duong, board chairman of VWS, has imported four machines producing compost fertilizers. These machines can automatically dry, classify, crush, compost and pack garbage. The compost fertilizer plant is scheduled to produce the first products within the next six months. “We will follow the market demand and may consider increasing the plant capacity to 1,000 tons of compost fertilizer per day,” Duong says.

In Da Phuoc, besides the projects of producing compost fertilizers and recycling household wastes, VWS is preparing for a US$17-million project generating power from methane with a selling price of 7.8 cent per kWh. Garbage is becoming a scarce material. Duong says, “If using a ton of garbage for compost fertilizer production, we will lose a considerable amount of methane to generate power.”

The attraction of wastes is now clearly seen. An entrepreneur in this sector said, “While people just try to throw garbage away, we try to find garbage. We love it, indeed.”

The love for garbage results from the income paid by the city for treating wastes. Besides, thanks to the high price in recent years, waste treatment plants earn more income by selling scraps or producing fertilizers, power, bricks, stones and plastics.

But the major headache for waste treatment companies is that projects mainly focus on treating household wastes which have been shared among firms. Meanwhile, millions of tons at landfills are ignored, except for the project of Trisun as mentioned above. Investors foresee a possible conflict between firms in the near future as there is not enough wastes for treatment plants.

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