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A “giant” baby-step towards a more sustainable Shanghai

The Island Laboratory team visited the newly built (2019) waste-to-energy power plant of the municipality of Shanghai. The facility is in Pudong area, 10km from Pudong International Airport. The power plant has the capacity to treat 6000t of non-compostable waste per day, 1/3 of the garbage production of Shanghai. The garbage is transported from the city via different routes: trucks, trains and ships via canals.

The power plant uses 8 furnace and 4 turbines to produce up to 1.5 TWh per year and selling the electricity back to the grid.

Model of the power plant. Note the wind turbines on the left which generate additional electricity for the power plant on the right. The canals (blue), all around the site, are used by ships to transport the garbage.

The Chinese government aims to dispose 1/3 of the country trash with this kind of plants by 2030. Its emissions are below all the international standards.

In yellow the emissions by the powerplant in comparison with the levels of international regulation

It’s not just a waste plant, where you find garbage. It’s actually an educative place, where when you walk through the corridor you can interact with touch screen panels with short games about recycling and re-use of wasted goods, like plastic bottles, cans etc.

Interactive corridor with touch screens on the walls.

This power plant does not pollute and complies with national and international regulation in matters of air quality, it beats their compliance level!

The project has been heavily subsidised by the Chinese Government allowing a return of the investment in circa 9 years. It aims to reduce drastically the waste to landfill with separation of dry waste at household level (the regulation has been in force since July 2019) and to undertake the waste to energy solution. Only recently, in July 2019, Shanghai municipality introduced regulation on domestic waste management, issuing fines for trash sorting violations. It’s fantastic to see such initiatives!

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