ES-1: Waste-to-Resource: Eco-Energy System towards Environmental Sustainability
This project focuses on waste-energy-resource-environment nexus in a long-term effort to favour resource, energy and environmental sustainability. Real sustainability can only be achieved if these are all considered simultaneously with the pro-active participation of stakeholders. Our Phase 1 results show that traditional centralised energy and waste treatment systems move stakeholders psychologically and physically away from the real or perceived effects, thus diluting their awareness of handling wastes and energy responsibly for the environment. While these are more efficient on conventional economical measurements, their overall resilience and environmental sustainability were found to be lower. Therefore, in Phase 2, we aim to cultivate a culture of energy and environmental conservation by implementing systems that can educate, connect and service stakeholders in existing and new communities and townships.
Our approach to do this would be to integrate an eco-energy (E-E) WTE system via exploring solid-waste treatment and disposal technologies (i.e., anaerobic digestion (AD) and gasification) assisted by solar energy to improve the primary energy saving and to form an integrated, sustainable, high efficient WTE system, and renewable resources. A self-sustainable energy supply will further assist industry-oriented solid residue conversion techniques to maximize the system’s technological, environmental, and energy performances toward decentralized implementation within new townships and precincts of megacities. Additionally, the effect of disposal processes on the environment will be studied as well, such as considering the detection and assessment of emerging contaminates (ECs) and toxicity of solid residues from AD and gasification, and the particle emission (e.g., PM2.5) released from gasification. The ultimate objective is to form a high efficient and environmentally sustainable closed waste loop, targeting waste that eventually has to be disposed of to zero.