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媒体看光大 |From Waste To Wealth

近日,《北京周报》(Beijing Review)第31期对光大垃圾焚烧企业进行重点、专题报道。(后附中文译文)

《北京周报》是中国唯一的英文新闻周刊,是中央级重点对外宣传刊物之一。

From Waste To Wealth

Along the overlapping green mountains of the Hangzhou city suburbs lies a secluded, garden-like patch of land, where strips of limpid water converge into a spectacular sapphire fountain filled with koi carp swimming below lotus leaves. If the protruding cooling tower didn't betray its true identity, one would think it was a holiday village or scenic resort. In fact, it is the site of a waste-to-energy plant.

"Every day, roughly 3,000 tons of domestic garbage is transported by trucks to the factory for treatment, accounting for one third of the total volume generated in Hangzhou," said Xiong Jianping, General Manager of the Hangzhou Jiufeng waste-to-energy project run by Everbright International. After some mental math, he calculated that if no treatment measures had been taken, garbage generated by the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province would have filled the city's West Lake in a mere five years.

"In fact, the fountain water in the park is produced from waste leachate, and all the electricity and water needed by the power generation equipment are self-produced," Xiong said, adding that the factory generates 390 million kWh of green electricity every year.

Hangzhou Jiufeng waste-to-energy plant stands in Jiufeng Village, Yuhang District, Hangzhou (COURTESY PHOTO)

Uphill battle

Four years ago when the local government first announced the location of the waste incineration project and contracted it to a local company without fully informing residents, the setting was a stark contrast to the picturesque scene of today. Thousands of villagers gathered around the site to protest and attempted to obstruct its construction by smashing vehicles and attacking enforcement officers.

To break the impasse, Everbright International, headquartered in Hong Kong and the largest waste-to-energy investor and operator in Asia, was chosen to replace the original contractor and tasked with carrying out the project with the local government. From August to October 2014, more than 5,000 villagers were invited to visit similar Everbright projects in the cities of Changzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing and Jinan and related compensation measures were unveiled.

"Local residents' understanding and support is a must for smooth construction and operation," said Xiong.

When the project was completed and set to begin running last September, about 80 representatives from nearby villages were invited to a meeting in the factory to make the final decisions. After consensus was reached, the waste incinerators were finally ignited.

This March, during the annual session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Li Xiaopeng, Chairman of China Everbright Group and member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee, submitted a proposal calling for the popularization of a rural-urban waste-to-energy system, designed to reduce pollution from random crop burning in rural areas and collect rural and urban household waste in an integrated way for power generation.

China Everbright Group Chairman Li Xiaopeng (center) inspects a waste-to-energy plant in Sanya, south China’s Hainan Province, on May 22 (COURTESY PHOTO)

Besieged by waste

Domestic garbage is mainly comprised of solid waste generated by people's daily lives and everyday needs. As urbanization continues in China, the urban population also continues to grow. By the end of 2017, the country had an urban population of 813.47 million, an increase of 20.49 million from a year earlier, representing an urbanization rate of 58.52 percent, according to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics.

More urban residents mean greater pressures on living environments, especially for the disposal of household garbage. In China, an urban resident generates around one kilogram of household waste on average every day, totaling nearly 400 million tons of household waste a year across the country.

There are three principal methods to carry out the treatment of household waste: the sanitary landfill, incineration and compost. In 2016, a total of 196.74 million tons of urban household waste underwent treatment, according to a report on the prospect of and investment in household waste treatment released by the Industry Research Institute of Qianzhan, a Beijing-based industry consulting service provider. Landfill, incineration and compost treatment made up 60 percent, 35 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Since domestic garbage contains plenty of organic matter, it is a hot bed for various pathogenic bacteria and easily decomposes and produces a malodorous smell. According to public statistics, there are more than 200 cities at risk of being surrounded by waste landfill, while half of them are out of control and not under management.

"If it is not properly handled in a timely fashion, household waste may cause air and water pollution, incubate fire hazards, do harm to animal nests and result in excessive land occupation," said Xiong.

In order to propel garbage classification, reduction and treatment, the National Development and Reform Commission recently published a guideline on innovating and improving the pricing mechanism of green development, which requires establishing an all-round pricing system for domestic waste disposal by 2020.

Scientist Shao Zheru (third right) leads his team in the devlopment of waste-to-energy equipment (COURTESY PHOTO)

An irresistible trend

Where there is human activity, there is garbage. The green management of household waste is a major challenge on the path to building a well-off society, and garbage incineration power generation is an important solution, said Jia Feng, Director of the Center for Environmental Education and Communications of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Currently, when a garbage truck enters the factory, its weight is checked by a wagon balance at the gate. After being unloaded into a vast treatment pond, the garbage is left to ferment for a week. The atmospheric pressure in the pond is lower than that outside, thus keeping the smell of rotting garbage locked within and sparing the neighborhood the stink. Once fermentation has significantly lowered the water content of the garbage, it is fed to incinerators, where generated heat is transformed into electricity through steam turbine generators.

Since 2010, waste incinerators have been sprouting up in China, and simultaneously, extensive public attention has been aroused by the prospering industry, said Liu Jinghao, a senior researcher with the Ministry of Housing and Rural-Urban Development. He also noted that waste incineration technology is more advanced in China than elsewhere.

Take Everbright International for example. It first turned to the environmental protection industry in 2003. At that time, China was heavily dependent on the import of overseas waste incineration power equipment.

Yet, due to higher water content, Chinese household waste couldn't be effectively treated and had to be burned by expensive foreign-made equipment tailored more to the garbage generated in Western countries. The company decided to develop more efficient and economical technology and equipment to meet the needs of Chinese incinerators.

"Over the course of equipment research and development, pioneering scientists encountered numerous obstacles and difficulties," said Shao Zheru, chief scientist at Everbright International, who led his team from scratch in 2004 in a dilapidated shed.

The company has now developed a grate furnace which can process 750 to 850 tons of waste per day and is expecting to leap up to 1,000 tons per day by 2023. This will make it the largest and most advanced system in the world. In addition, special leachate treatment technology has been developed to deal with the high moisture content of Chinese household garbage.

"As long as the temperature is kept higher than 850 degrees Celsius and the flue gas stays in the combustion chamber for longer than two seconds, the generated dioxin can be decomposed. Moreover, gas purification systems can neutralize and filter generated fly ash, acid gas and heavy metal," said Shao, noting that all emission indicators are up to the Euro 2010 Standards.

At the beginning of this year, China Everbright Group's Chairman Li highlighted the goal of further cementing the company's core competitiveness and market standing by shoring up comprehensive development and leveraging green industry funds.

In expanding green business along Belt and Road routes, Li insisted that an equal emphasis should be laid on scale, quality and economic benefit.

"Remarkable breakthroughs have been made in areas such as waste-to-energy, water treatment, biomass utilization and equipment manufacturing," said Li, who noted that these endeavors are targeted at building Everbright International into a global frontrunner in the eco-environmental industry.

So far, Everbright has signed over 80 waste incineration power projects scattered throughout 13 provinces, with roughly 50 projects in operation and treatment capacity totaling 45,000 tons per day. In addition, its overseas business footprint has also been expanded to Germany, Poland and Viet Nam.

A better knowledge of waste incineration can help remove the widespread attitude of "not in my backyard." A full consideration of local environmental capacity, the scientific collection of public opinion, an improved sense of gain from green development and information transparency are also quite necessary, Jia noted.

"Residents across the country can check all the real-time emissions data of our projects on Everbright International's website at any time. Keeping the public fully informed will help them feel more secure," said Xiong.

为了方便大家理解,小编在此特意准备了中文翻译,供大家参考:

在杭州郊区连绵的青山中,有一片世外桃源。在那里,道道清溪汇入一个壮观的蓝宝石喷泉,泉中更有成群锦鲤游弋在莲叶下。如果不是因为那个屹立于此的冷却塔,人们会以为这里是一个度假村或风景胜地。然而,这里实际上是一个垃圾发电厂。

“每天约有3,000吨生活垃圾经卡车运载至该厂进行处理,占杭州垃圾总量的三分之一。”中国光大国际旗下杭州九峰垃圾发电项目总经理熊建平说道。稍加计算后,他指出,如果不曾采取任何处理措施,中国东部浙江省省会城市——杭州所制造的垃圾将在短短5年内填满整个西湖。

熊建平说:“事实上,园中的泉水源自于垃圾渗滤液,而发电设备所需的所有电和水也都是工厂自产。”他补充道,工厂每年可提供3.9亿千瓦时的绿色电力。

一场硬仗

四年前,当地政府首次宣布了这一垃圾焚烧项目的选址,并将项目承包给当地一家公司。当时,数千名当地村民聚集在场地周边抗议,试图通过砸车和攻击执法人员阻挠施工。这一场景与现在如画的景色形成了鲜明对比。

为了打破这一僵局,总部设在香港的亚洲最大的垃圾发电投资商和运营商中国光大国际被选中取代原承包商,负责与当地政府共同建设该项目。2014年8月至10月, 光大国际邀请了5000多名村民参观公司设在常州、苏州、南京和济南的垃圾发电项目。

熊建平说:“当地居民的理解和支持是顺利建设和运营项目的必要条件。”

当该项目于去年9月竣工并拟将开始运行时,来自附近村庄的约80名代表受邀出席了在项目上举行的会议,就项目运营做出最终决定。在与会人员达成共识后,该垃圾焚烧厂正式启运。

在今年5月举行的全国生态环境保护大会上,国家主席习近平重申,绿水青山就是金山银山,因此必须采取切实措施以促进绿色发展。

在今年3月的中国人民政治协商会议第十三届全国委员会会议上,全国政协委员、中国光大集团董事长李晓鹏提交了一份提案,呼吁推广“城乡一体化”垃圾发电模式,这旨在减少农村地区因焚烧秸秆而导致的污染,及通过综合方式回收农村和城市的生活垃圾以用于发电。

垃圾围城

生活垃圾主要由人们日常生活和每日所需所产生的固体废物组成。随着中国推进城市化进程,城市人口持续增长。根据国家统计局的统计数据,截至2017年底,中国城市人口为813,470,000人,比去年同期增加了20,490,000人,城市化率达58.52%。

更多的城市居民意味着生活环境所承受的压力更大,尤其是在生活垃圾处理方面。在中国,每个城市居民平均每天产生约1公斤的生活垃圾,而全国每年则产生近4亿吨的生活垃圾。

对生活垃圾进行无害处理的主要方法有三种:卫生填埋、焚烧和堆肥。总部位于北京的行业咨询服务提供商——前瞻发布了一份关于生活垃圾处理前景和投资的报告。报告显示,2016年城市生活垃圾总量达196,740,000吨。其中,通过垃圾填埋、焚烧和堆肥处理的垃圾数量分别占60%、35%和5%。

由于生活垃圾含有大量有机物,所以它是各种致病细菌的温床,容易腐烂和产生臭味。根据公开统计数据,目前有逾200个城市面临被垃圾填埋场包围的风险,其中半数已失去控制且没有得到有效管理。

熊建平表示:“如果不能及时妥善处理,生活垃圾可能会造成空气和水污染、滋生火灾隐患、破坏动物巢穴及过度占用土地。”

为推动垃圾分类、减量和处理,国家发改委最近发布了关于创新和完善绿色发展定价机制的指导意见,要求到2020年建立全面的国内垃圾处理定价体系。

势不可挡

哪里有人类活动,哪里就有垃圾。生态环境部宣传教育中心主任贾峰指出,生活垃圾的绿色管理对于建设小康社会来说是一大挑战,而垃圾焚烧发电则是一个重要的应对方案。

目前,当垃圾车进入工厂时,安装于厂房门上的货车磅会称量其重量。其后,车中的垃圾会被卸入一个巨大的垃圾池中,并留在池中发酵一周。由于池中气压低于外面,负压把垃圾因腐烂而产生的气味锁在池内,使邻近地区免受臭味之苦。最后,当垃圾中的水分因发酵而显著降低后,垃圾将被送入焚化炉中,而焚烧产生的热量则会被蒸汽涡轮发电机转化为电能。

住房和城乡建设部高级研究员刘景浩说:“自2010年以来,垃圾焚烧厂在中国纷纷涌现,而该行业在繁荣发展的同时,也引起了公众的广泛关注。”他还指出,中国拥有当前世界上最先进的垃圾焚烧技术。

以中国光大国际为例,它在2003年首次进军环保行业。当时,中国严重依赖从国外进口的垃圾焚烧设备。然而,由于国内生活垃圾的含水量较高,因此这些垃圾无法得到有效处理。鉴于此,光大国际决定开发更高效、更经济的技术和设备,以满足中国垃圾焚烧厂的需要。

“在设备研发过程中,众先锋科学家均遇到了许多障碍和困难,”光大国际首席科学家邵哲如说。他于2004年在一个破旧的棚子里从零开始带领其团队开展相关工作。

公司目前已经自主研发750吨/日至850吨/日的炉排炉,并有望在2023年将其提升垃圾处理能力至1,000吨/日,并成为世界上最大、最先进的炉排炉系统。此外,还开发了特殊的渗滤液处理技术,从而可适应中国生活垃圾高湿度的特点。

“只要燃烧室温度保持在850摄氏度以上,而烟气在燃烧室中停留超过两秒钟,那么燃烧过程中所产生的二恶英可被分解。”此外,烟气净化系统能够拦截产生的飞灰、酸性气体和重金属” 邵哲如说。他指出,光大国际所有烟气在线监测指标日均值全面优于欧盟2010标准。

今年年初,中国光大集团董事长李晓鹏强调通过支持全面发展和利用绿色产业基金来进一步巩固公司核心竞争力和市场地位的目标。

在扩大“一带一路”沿线的绿色产业方面,李晓鹏坚持认为,应平等重视规模、质量和经济效益。他表示:“光大国际在垃圾焚烧、水处理、生物质综合利用和设备制造等领域已取得显著突破。”他指出,这些努力的目标是将光大国际打造为全球生态环境行业的领跑者。

目前,光大国际已经签署超过80个垃圾发电项目,分布在全国13个省。约50个项目已经投入运营,总处理能力达到45,000吨/日。此外,光大国际的国际版图已经拓展至德国、波兰及越南。

通过对垃圾焚烧加深认识,有助消除“邻避效应”。贾峰说:“通过完整考虑当地的环境能力,并科学地搜集公众意见,加深绿色发展理念,以及加强信息公开透明度,都是非常必要的。”

“全国各地的居民都可以随时查看我们在光大国际网站上披露的所有运营垃圾发电项目的实时排放数据。让公众充分知情有利于提升公众的安全感。” 熊建平说。

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