50 years of waste management in Singapore – incinerators

Have you ever wondered where are located the incinerators in Singapore? In this article, we explore the past, present, and future incinerators of Singapore.

The constant rise of waste generation from the commercial, industrial, and domestic sectors has been a concern for the government at a very early stage due to the physical limit of landfill and the limited space of Singapore. As a solution to reduce the volume of waste and extend the lifespan of the existing landfill, Singapore government supported the construction of Singapore’s (and Southeast Asia’s) first incinerator plant as early as 1974. Ulu Pandan Incineration Plant started operations on 30th July 1979.

Considering the immediate benefits of such technology and the continuous increase of waste generation, several other incinerators (waste-to-energy plants) have been built since.

Table 1 - List of incinerators past, present, and future
50 year waste management - the incinerators
Figure 1 - Approximate location of the past, present, and future incineration plants in Singapore (Map source: USGS)

Notes:

  • Tuas Incineration Plant: In 2011, it was expected that this pant will be replaced by 2016/17. It is still in operation today.
  • Senoko Incineration Plant: The Senoko Incineration Plant was divested to the private sector in September 2009 and has since been renamed Senoko Waste-To-Energy Plant (SWTE).
  • Keppel Seghers Waste-to-Energy Plant: KSTP was developed under a Design, Build, Own and Operate (DBOO) model and commissioned in 2009 to replace Singapore’s first WTE plant at Ulu Pandan
  • TuasOne Waste-to-Energy Plant: Originally planned for 2019, the latest expected date of start of operations of the new plant is January 2021. The plant is being built by a consortium comprising Hyflux Ltd (Hyflux) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) scheme, using the design-build-own-operate (DBOO) model. The tender for the project was awarded on 14 September 2015.
  • Integrated Waste Management Facility: the first part of the construction has been awarded to a consortium comprising Keppel Infrastructure’s environmental engineering arm Keppel Seghers Engineering Singapore (Keppel Seghers), China Harbour (Singapore) Engineering Company (China Harbour) and ST Engineering Marine.

Sources:

Waste generation and incineration capacity over time

Daily amount of waste disposed of and total incineration capacity from 1976 to 2019
Figure 2 - Daily amount of waste disposed of and total incineration capacity (tonnes/day) from 1976 to 2019

As illustrated in Figure 2, the waste generation to landfill and incineration has been relatively stable since 2013 thanks to a continuous increase in recycling from the commercial, industrial, and domestic sector. The construction of the new plants TuasOne Waste-to-Energy Plant and Integrated Waste Management Facility are justified by several reasons:

  • Replacement of aging facilities, Tuas Incineration Plant and Senoko Incineration Plant,
  • Expected population growth and economic growth of Singapore leading to further consumption and waste generation.

Incinerators have a typical lifespan of 25 years and represent a significant long-term investment. The question is how much waste will be generated by 2030 and beyond? And what will happen when Semakau landfill runs out of space from the ashes of the incinerators? We will explore those questions in later articles.

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About Zero Waste City

Zero Waste City is a consulting business specialised in waste reduction for commercial and industrial facilities. We help companies to save money by reducing waste and to achieve Zero Waste goals. Our services include:

Our services include:

  • Waste audit (quantifying waste streams and identifying immediate cost saving opportunities)
  • Compliance with regulations such as:
    • Mandatory Packaging Reporting
    • Mandatory Waste Reporting
    • Mandatory Food Waste Segregation
  • Project implementation and on-going support
  • Measurement and Verification of savings
  • Guidance to achieve Zero Waste goals and certifications.