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System 'will reduce rubbish by up to 80%'

Thai scientists have created a waste management system that they say could reduce the volume of rubbish by up to 80 per cent and separate mixed waste.

Published on December 24, 2007

The bulk of waste would be transformed into bio-gas, with 30 per cent turned into refuse derived fuel and 20 per cent into fertiliser, according to Techa Boonyachai, an adviser to Chulalongkorn University's Clean and Green Fuel Research Centre.

The bio-gas would generate electricity to run the process and get rid of garbage. It would also help create fertiliser and refuse derived fuel, both of which be sold, Techa said.

The garbage-eradication model has a system of magnetic separation to collect metal, air separation to collect light waste such as paper and plastic bags, and water separation to separate organic and heavy waste.

After the separation process, light and suspended waste is transformed into refuse, which can be used to produce power, instead of coal.

Organic waste would be shredded then moved to an anaerobic digestion tank to produce bio-gas.

Organic matter would then be transformed into fertiliser by drying in the sun and then fermenting.

Techa said all the processes had been completed in a lab, and his team would create a waste plant in a municipality in June next year as a study centre for integrated waste manage-ment for municipalities around the country.

"We expect to invest only Bt50 million per waste plant to handle 50 tonnes of garbage, which is much cheaper than waste energy power plants that currently exist in Thailand.

"We also aim to earn income from the garbage, at around Bt900 per tonne," he said.

A waste plant containing 100 tonnes of garbage could end up producing 1.5 mega-watts of power per day, Techa said.

The project is based on a waste management system from abroad and headed by Assoc Prof Dr Tharapong Vitidsant.

The team of scientists that created the model want to spread the idea to municipali-ties throughout the country to help reduce negative effects from landfills and methane emissions caused by open dumping, and increase use of refuse derived fuel instead of coal.

Currently, municipalities around the country have to deal with 16 million tonnes of waste a year, or 44,000 tonnes a day and up to 98 per cent of the waste is not managed well.

Some is dumped in landfills and some just left in the open.

And because many Thais don't separate their garbage, the country faces several forms of pollution caused by waste.

Techa said he wanted to edu-cate young people to be more aware about waste separation, which he said was an effective waste management system in the US and Europe, where peo-ple are legally bound to separate their garbage.

Wannapa Phetdee

The Nation

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