No, it uses pyrolysis technology, which is an environmentally-friendly alternative to incineration. The key difference between the two is that incineration (burning) involves the complete oxidation of the combustible material into combustion gases and heat whereas pyrolysis (heating) converts the feedstock into useful resources like syngas and pyrolysis oil. Waste does not come into contact with the flame supplying the thermal energy and electricity is generated through innovative waste heat harvesting technology.
Whereas temperatures under incineration may reach up to 1000 degrees Celsius, temperatures underpyrolysis reach at most 850 degrees Celsius.
The Ministry for the Environment’s definition (taken from its website) makes clear the difference between incineration and pyrolysis.
To combat the worldwide waste problem exacerbated by an increase in the use of personal protective equipment due to Covid-19, the WHO recently recommended using eco-friendly packaging and shipping, and the use of reusable equipment and recyclable or biodegradable materials. It also recommended the use of "non-burn waste treatments." According to an article on the WHO’s report in the Cornell Chronicle, a medium-temperature reaction called pyrolysis would take the PPE waste from hospitals and medical centres and send it to the pre-processing and decontamination plants. After it is sterilized, shredded and dehydrated to become particles, the waste would be sent to a pyrolysis plant where it reduces the medical waste backinto the original form of chemicals and petroleum. The process would not require incineration and excludes the use of landfills.
A report from the independent assessor commissioned by the Horizons Regional Council concluded that emissions from the plant would be “less than minor,” meaning that the air quality around and in the immediate zone of the plant would meet both national air standards (NESAQ) and local regional standards.
4. Is the plant positive or negative for climate change?
The net gain is negative 34,000 tons Co2 eq/yr, through the diversion of municipal solid waste from landfill. Renewable electricity of 15,120 MWh/year generated by the plant will help with decarbonisation by 1,730 tons Co2 eq/year.
The company which owns the technology, Global Green International Investments (GGII), has installed a few units, including eight units of their pyrolysis plants at Hankook Tyre Factory in South Korea. The independent assessment of emissions for the Manawatu plant was based on air discharges from these plants.
Up to 43 MWh/day (or 15,000 MWh/year). This is equivalent to the annual consumption of over 2,000 households. (The average annual consumption of NZ households is 7,257 kWh - Ref: figure.nz, 2012 – 2021 Household Electricity Consumption).
Up to 14,000 litres/day of refined renewable fuel.
There will be wastewater from the scrubbers and leachate holding tank. These will be treated by the onsite wastewater treatment system. 70% of the water requirement of the plant will be provided by the onsite wastewater treatment system. The quality of the treated water will meet the trade waste discharge standards for discharge in the sewer lines. The char from municipal solid waste pyrolysis may have trace elements, but these will be tested to ensure that their concentrations are safe for use. Bioplant is working with GGII for treatment of these chars to produce activated carbon for water and air treatment.
The feedstock will be municipal solid waste, i.e. waste that cannot be recycled and would otherwise be destined for landfill following the Manawatu District Council’s recovery process.
The Manawatu/Horowhenua region. It will be diverted from various landfills across the lower North Island.
No, as the report of the independent assessor commissioned by the Horizons Regional Council makes clear:
“Regulation 12 of National Environmental Standard for Air Quality specifically talks about hazardous wastes which are defined in international agreements. These wastes would not normally be present in municipal solid waste, and municipal solid waste has a different classification to hazardous waste and therefore the regulation does not apply [to Bioplant].”
GGII has a combination of Australian and other international investors and shareholders. Bioplant is an Australian unlisted public company with more than 200 shareholders.
13. Industry Expert Presentation - Professor Jim Jones