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Organic waste treatment plant needs better trash sorting

By Jeana Wong, Channel NewsAsia
12 June 2007 1941 hrs

SINGAPORE: Singapore's first organic waste treatment plant is set to be up and running by the end of this year.

The plant - the first and largest of its kind in Asia - will turn food waste into power.

But the plant owner, IUT Global, says thus far its power generation capacity has not been the most efficient.

That is because it has been having trouble collecting the right kind of food waste.

Singapore-based IUT Global had hoped that it would make some headway with getting its food waste suppliers to sort out their trash properly since it broke ground at its facility in Tuas nearly two years ago by building an organic waste treatment plant.

"The big challenge is to actually collect what we want. Having a number of people, and even malls like Century Square signing up was not a problem because many of these people want to be seen to be green.

"We've quite a number of hotels as well, including the big hotels like Raffles (Hotel) and Shangri-La. But the current system has food waste all mixed in," says Edwin Khew, CEO, IUT Global.

IUT Global says it needs to collect the purest food or organic waste in order to be effective and profitable.

And it remains hopeful that its S$60 million plant can deliver the promise of transforming a quarter of Singapore's food waste into electricity and compost materials.

"We've just started doing the testing and commissioning. Food waste will be coming in and we'll be ramping up, and this will take time. So we're hopeful that we can get the full 300 tonnes to move forward. But more hopeful that we can get the 300 tonnes that we want and not 300 tonnes that's mixed in with other things," says Mr Khew.

Singapore throws away some 1,500 tonnes of food waste on a daily basis.

That makes up nearly one-tenth of Singapore's trash, which last year amounted to more than five million tonnes.

If successful, IUT Global's new plant will be able to turn food waste into enough electricity for itself and over 10,000 other industrial facilities. - CNA/yy

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