New incineration research facility to be built in Tuas by 2018

Professor Ng Wun Jern, executive director of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute.
Professor Ng Wun Jern, executive director of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute.PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - An incineration research facility, to be built in Tuas by 2018, will be the first here to turn waste into heat and synthetic gas.

The gas can be bottled and then sold, or pumped to a power plant to generate electricity.

This is different from current incineration plants in the Republic, which are mass-burn facilities can only produce heat that is then turned into electricity.

The new facility's incinerator will be able to reduce waste to slag - a glass-like by-product of melting metal that is used in industries like construction - instead of ash.

The new plant is being developed by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a venture that will cost $40 million over 10 years.

At a press briefing on Wednesday (July 13) Professor Ng Wun Jern, executive director of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, said the 0.7ha facility will provide an important platform for technologies in the laboratory to be tested in an actual plant.

The facility will test-bed about six technologies a year, including a project to clean and upgrade synthetic gas, and use it to power gas engines or turbines at higher efficiencies.

"What we do in the lab is research, which is still a long way from actual application. At the end of the day we need to move research to engineering, so what this facility allows us to do is to address the engineering issues," he said. This includes finding the right equipment to run the incineration process.

NEA's chief executive Ronnie Tay said: "The facility will enable researchers and industry personnel to develop their skill sets and competency in waste management technology."