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Energy plant turns trash into treasure

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-02 13:01
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Li Jingfeng put on gloves, sat on a rotating chair and began his day's work. Operating a handle, he began lifting piles of garbage from an enclosed 30-meter-deep pit with a mechanical hand.

He then placed the fermenting garbage in a furnace to be burned, generating power that would later be released to the power grid for urban use.

Li works in a renewable resource company called Everbright Greentech in Lintao county, Gansu province.

The company collects domestic waste from neighboring counties and areas, processes it and then burns it to generate power, turning trash into treasure.

The project began operations in May 2021 and this year alone it has processed 190,000 metric tons of domestic waste, and generated power sufficient to meet the needs of nearly 50,000 households for an entire year.

Niu Jianxin, general manager of the company, says that the temperature inside the furnace is kept above 850 C, and smoke data is monitored online to ensure pollution control. Any resulting smoke, ash and sewage is all properly disposed of to prevent secondary pollution.

"Gone are the days when the village was surrounded by piles of garbage. Now the stink has gone, the air is refreshing," says Wei Jiangang, a villager from Taoyang town.

Lintao county has devised a garbage collection process that encompasses sorting by households, collection by villages, transportation by townships and processing by the county. Together with the use of domestic waste, this process has significantly improved the urban and rural environment.

"Garbage is not useless. Using technology, it can be processed in a more environmentally friendly way, reducing pollution and generating power," says Xu Shude, Party chief of the county.

According to a renewable energy development plan issued in June 2022 by nine departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration, China will steadily develop urban domestic waste incineration plants to generate power.

Mao Jinhuang, a professor at Lanzhou University, says that domestic waste is a misplaced resource.

"China's treatment of domestic waste is developing in a better direction, in a bid to improve the living environment and also create economic benefits," says Mao.

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