Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is converting its waste into useful energy and soil conditioner

The gasification process converts carbon-based waste into useful synthetic gas and biomass.
The Straits Times

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is about to get a whole lot greener.

The horticultural attraction will soon be using compact gasification technology to achieve up to 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

The technology works by converting carbon-based waste to thermal energy and synthetic gas, also known as syngas.

Combustion of syngas produces thermal energy which will be used to heat up water for food and beverage outlets at Gardens by the Bay. Carbonised biomass (biochar), which is another by-product, will be used as a soil conditioner to make soil optimal for agriculture and horticulture.

In a joint statement with energy utilities company SP Group, Gardens by the Bay said the pilot system is able to handle up to one tonne of waste everyday, and could set the precedent for viable and sustainable zero-waste districts in Singapore.

The companies’ agreement, which is supported by Temasek Holdings, was signed at the Ecosperity Conference 2019 on June 6 (Thursday).

On top of providing the experimentation site and supplying waste for the project, Gardens by the Bay will be studying the usefulness and viability of biochar in improving soil conditions, said the statement.

How gasification changes waste management

Gasification is an alternative to the conventional incineration method used for dealing with refuse, with the prospect of reducing waste to a mere five per cent of its original volume, the companies said.

With this method, the need for sorting plastics from general and food waste could be eliminated, addressing some of Singapore’s key waste disposal challenges, they added.

Transportation of waste to offsite incineration plants may no longer be necessary, significantly reducing the need to use refuse trucks, which in turn alleviates traffic conditions and further lowers carbon emission levels.

CEO of SP Group’s Singapore district cooling, Jimmy Khoo, said: “We are developing district solutions to help Singapore achieve its sustainability goals. This paves the way for decentralised waste management for other businesses and residential estates.”

The companies noted that in the past four decades, waste generation in Singapore has seen a seven-fold increase, with 7.7 million tonnes of solid waste generated in 2018 alone.

With this figure projected to increase, Singapore’s only landfill at Pulau Semakau will be filled to over-capacity by 2035, even with waste incineration.

Building more offshore landfill sites to accommodate the growing amount of waste would not be sustainable in the land-scarce country, they added.

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