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Nanjing turns kitchen waste into treasure


10:49, December 17, 2011

NANJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Nanjing is starting an environmentally friendly program to dispose of kitchen waste in preparation for hosting the 2014 Youth Olympics.

By 2014, the city in east China plans to reduce the amount of kitchen waste it puts in sanitary landfills by half, while using the rest to produce biofuel and other "treasure."

According to Chen Lei, deputy director of the Nanjing Municipal Planning Bureau, the capital city of Jiangsu province produces about 5,300 tonnes of domestic waste daily. About 30 percent of this refuse is kitchen waste.

Until now, the city's kitchen waste has been put in landfills, where it ferments underground. However, the process releases a huge amount of methane, which is 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of ozone depletion.

Early this year, the planning bureau, in collaboration with Nanjing University, built a small biochemical processing facility at the Jiaozishan organic garbage disposal station. The facility serves as a pilot project for kitchen waste processing.

Using specialized machines, the kitchen waste is separated and mashed to facilitate fermentation. The resulting biogas is then collected and the residue is used as fertilizer.

The raw methane can be further desulfurized to produce purified gas, suitable for automobile fuel or electrical generation. The facility can process 50 tonnes of kitchen waste per day.

Chen said another two biochemical processing plants will be built in the second half of 2012, including another at Jiaozishan and one at Tianjingwa. He also said Nanjing will build a garbage facility that can process 1,200 tonnes of kitchen waste per day by 2015.

In October, Nanjing initiated a garbage separation program in four districts so kitchen waste can be collected more easily. By 2014 the program will cover the entire city.

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