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Pilot project at East Coast Park hawker centre turns food waste into electricity and fertiliser

SINGAPORE — A pilot project that turns food waste into electricity and fertiliser has been launched at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village in East Coast Park.

Pilot project at East Coast Park hawker centre turns food waste into electricity and fertiliser

The electricity generated from the process can power the system that converts the food waste, two mobile-phone charging stations, and up to 31 wall-mounted fans at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village.

  • The biogas from the food waste will be converted into electricity
  • This will, in turn, power mobile-phone charging stations and the system that allows the conversion of the waste
  • The fertiliser generated will be used in landscaping around East Coast Park

 

SINGAPORE — A pilot project that turns food waste into electricity and fertiliser has been launched at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village in East Coast Park.

It will convert food waste generated by food stalls and patrons at the hawker centre into biogas and bio-fertiliser.

The biogas, in turn, will be converted into electricity to power the anaerobic digestion system that allows the conversion of the food waste as well as two mobile-phone charging stations for the public.

Any excess electricity can also be used to power up to 31 wall-mounted fans at the hawker centre, the National Parks Board (NParks), National Environment Agency (NEA) and National University of Singapore (NUS) said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 17).

The bio-fertiliser will be used in landscaping around East Coast Park. NParks, which manages the 185ha park, is identifying sites there to test the effectiveness of the digestate — or liquid residues from the biodegradation of food waste — as fertiliser.

NUS and NParks are also studying its effectiveness in growing ornamental plants.

Developed by a team of researchers from NUS, the digestion system takes in source-segregated digestible food waste, such as fruit and vegetable trimmings, preparation scraps from the stalls and leftover waste from the tables.

Microbes — a type of micro-organism — will then feed on the blended food waste to produce methane-rich biogas and bio-fertiliser packed with nutrients.

Photo: NEA, NUS, NParks

NEA, which runs the hawker centre, and NParks have signed a memorandum of understanding to tie up on the project.

The system started operating about one-and-a-half weeks ago, and there is no fixed end to the pilot scheme for now.

Associate Professor Tong Yen Wah, from the NUS department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, leads the team from the university that oversees the operation and maintenance of the system.

He said: “Our technology is unique because it is easy to operate, and can now generate heat, fertiliser and electricity for areas at or around the hawker centre.”

Anaerobic digestion is an established technology adopted in some countries. It is mainly used at off-site or centralised facilities where food waste is combined from neighbouring premises.

This project, however, examines the feasibility of using the system as an on-site treatment solution at the source of the food waste.

East Coast Lagoon Food Village was chosen for the trial since there was space available next to the hawker centre to house the system. The bio-fertiliser can also be applied at East Coast Park, said NParks, NEA and NUS in their statement.

Sixty or so occupied stalls at East Coast Lagoon Food Village generate about 150kg of digestible food waste daily. The on-site treatment of the food waste will reduce the need to send food waste for incineration.

To aid in the segregation of food waste, the agencies have provided stallholders and table cleaners with covered bins.

The food waste is then emptied into five smart bins around the hawker centre, which record and store data on the amount of segregated waste from each user.

Posters and wall stickers will also be put up to remind diners to return their trays and used crockery, and encourage stallholders and cleaners to segregate food waste from other forms of waste proactively.

Last year, food waste formed about 11 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore. Yet only 19 per cent of the food waste was recycled, with the rest of it being disposed of at incineration plants.

Related topics

food waste energy sustainability NUS National Environment Agency National Parks Board East Coast Lagoon Food Village

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