Mactan waste plant to produce ‘green coal’By Irene R. Sino Cruz
LAPU-LAPU CITY—Garbage disposal will no longer be a problem in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island in Cebu.
A P1.2-billion state-of-the-art facility for trash recycling and treatment will be put up in the 4-hectare city dump in Sitio Soong, Barangay Mactan, by yearend. It will convert garbage into pellets to fuel coal-fired power plants.
It will address not only the problem of garbage disposal in Mactan and the entire province but also the shortage of power supply on the island, which hosts world-class resorts and export zones.
A memorandum of agreement (MOA) has been signed between the city government and Zehira USA, through its local subsidiary, Integrated Green Technology Visayas Inc., to undertake a joint venture for the material recovery facility project. Lapu-Lapu will provide the site and get 2 percent of Zehira’s net income, while the company will provide the technology.
The proposed mechanical biological treatment plant will be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and Zehira’s flagship project in the country, according to Zehira chief financial officer Jay Malasaga.
It will use the Stabilat technology of Herhof GmbH, which allows the automated segregation and treatment of garbage, such as organic, plastics and metals, Zehira president Michael Jimenez said. However, used batteries will have to be separated manually.
Herhof GmbH, a company based in Hessen, Germany, is engaged in the design, construction and operation of composting and Stabilat plants, as well as waste separation and waste sorting facilities.
According to Malasaga, Zehira has been given the exclusive use of the Herhof technology in Southeast Asia.
The plant can process and treat 150-250 tons of garbage daily. Lapu-Lapu collects 60-70 tons of garbage daily.
What makes the Herhof technology unique is its ability to rehabilitate the dump and bring it back to its original state. After two to three years of the plant’s full operation, all residual wastes left behind by scavengers for the past 30 years would have been processed and treated, Jimenez said.
By then, the area will become an eco-industrial area, he added.
Jimenez explained that the proposed plant would transform garbage into pellets called “green coal,” which can be used by coal-fired power plants. He said 1.5 parts of green coal would generate the same energy as one part of coal.
Aside from the green coal, Zehira will be earning from the sale of other treated waste components, such as glass, metals and ceramics.
The facility will treat the toxic contents of water and air taken from the wastes.
Jimenez said the first phase of the plant would be operational about a year after the groundbreaking. It will take three to six months for it to become fully operational.
“We have to maximize our output first to justify to our investors that we are ready for Phase 2, which is the power plant,” Jimenez said.
Jobs for scavengers
Jimenez said the company would employ scavengers who will be displaced by the project.
“Our target is zero-waste,” Malasaga said. “Everything is recycled to the lowest level. It’s a one-stop [shop].”
Nine other similar facilities are being planned in other areas in the country.
So far, Zehira has entered into MOAs with the municipalities of Molave in Zamboanga del Sur, Midsayap in North Cotabato, and Galan in Sarangani, and Panabo City in Davao del Norte.
It also signed a memorandum of understanding with Davao City.
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