TCL to power kilns with waste from landfills

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Men rummage through debris along Kangawood Road on the way to the Forres Park Landfill on June 30, 2021. – File photo/Angelo Marcelle

The Solid Waste Management Co Ltd (SWMCOL) and Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to decrease the large volumes of plastics from the Beetham and Forres Park landfills and use that waste to power TCL’s kilns for producing cement.

The signing took place at the Ministry of Public Utilities, 1 Alexandra Place, Alexandra Street, Port of Spain on Friday morning.

Ronald Milford, SWMCOL’s chairman, said the signing of the MoU serves as an example of eco-innovation that facilitates waste diversion to energy conversion and environmental protection.

He said, “Analyses on the viability of this possibility are to be conducted over a period of one year and will guide any terms of reference, contractual frameworks and binding agreements as considered necessary.”

TCL’s general manager Guillermo Rojo de Diego said the process to be used is co-processing and assured that it is a safe practice, proven in Europe and other countries throughout the world.

“To reduce our carbon emissions and achieve our 2030 and 2050 goals, we are concentrating on increasing the use of alternative fuels instead of regular fossil fuels, powering our kilns with the waste while also providing other benefits for the environment. Alternative fuels are a by-product of humanity which otherwise ends up in landfills.”

He said if the waste remains in the landfills, when it composted by burning it releases methane, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide 80 times higher than what is being used in the kilns.

De Diego continued, “Co-processing is the more efficient waste-management solution than a landfill or incineration, and the main reason we wanted to highlight this is because it’s safe. When that waste that has some calorific power is dumpedinto our kilns at 1,500 degrees,most of the harmful substances are destroyed and then we have the filters that control the emissions that are going out there.”

He added that this partnership needs investment, as the kilns are already operational, with a solid flow of waste coming in constantly and 200,000 tonnes of waste already available.

“Additional good news for NGC (National Gas Company) is that we would release gas that NGC can put elsewhere.”

This comes as SWMCOL signed a MoU with NGC in 2021 to identify and quantify methane emissions from existing landfills and determine how they can be used as a source of alternative energy. In a release from NGC in 2021, NGC said with the captured methane emissions it can potentially be used to fuel SWMCOL’s fleet of vehicles and other government vehicles.

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said this step will help TT achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 15 per cent by 2030.

He said, “In addition to this, we will be able to witness and analyse, first-hand, private-sector investment in the environmentally sound management of waste oils.”

Gonzales said the ministry is also looking at establishing an engineered municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill at Forres Park.

“We are currently engaged in the first phase of that project, which involves the execution of technical, financial, social, environmental, and economic studies. These studies, once completed, will not only determine the feasibility of this project, but the shape it will take, and the mechanisms and infrastructure used to develop and maintain it.”

He said the ministry is also currently amending the draft National Integrated Solid Waste Management Policy, draft National Waste Recycling Policy, and draft Beverage Container Deposit Refund Policy, which will soon be submitted to Cabinet. This comes as the ministry completed its stakeholder consultations last month.