Melaka’s WTE incinerator cost slashed almost half to RM280m

The construction of the plant will start this year and is expected to be ready for operation by 2022

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By BERNAMA

The construction of Melaka’s waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerator project, which has been delayed for several years, is expected to begin soon with its cost slashed significantly to RM280 million from the initial proposed amount of RM435 million.

Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari (picture) told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that the funding of the WTE incinerator project, located at the Sungai Udang Sanitary Landfill, is under the purview of the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT), while the land acquisition — that would cost an additional RM3.64 million — is in the hands of the state government.

Adly said the construction of the incinerator will start this year and is expected to be ready for operation by 2022 — a year before the current landfill reaches its maximum capacity.

“We will have to acquire another extra 10 acres (4.04ha) on top of the current dumping area to allow the WTE incinerator to be developed at the landfill,” he told TMR at the Malaysia Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The 12.1ha Sungai Udang Sanitary Landfill, which began operation in April 2015, currently receives more than 1,000 tonnes of waste a day.

The waste — from all the municipals in Melaka totalling about 1,300 tonnes — costs the state government some RM70,000 to dispose them of daily.

At the rate it is going now, the site could only be sustained up to five years.

The project was originally proposed by developer BTM Resources Bhd in 2017, with its original cost calculated based on the develop, build, own and operate concept under a 25-year concession deal.

The proposal was turned down in May last year after the company failed to obtain the approval from the Department of National Solid Waste Management.

Adly said the state administration is expected to conclude the land acquisition within the next three months, which also gives time for KPKT to complete the design and technology specification for the incinerator.

“Once KPKT completes the design and specifications, everything is ready for construction,” he added.

As it is, the landfill site, which is located 20km away from Melaka town, is currently bursting at its seams after reaching its maximum capacity since 2017.

The site, however, received a lifeline after the federal government forked out RM16.5 million to build a new landfill cell on a 1.82ha of parcel next to it.

This has allowed the facilities to receive extra wastes for another 18 months.

Melaka — a small state with 1,664 sq km of land area — has no other option in managing its own waste which is also contributed by high tourists footfall, but to proceed with the WTE plant development.

“I think we may consider using the European, Japan or Korean technology, which is suitable with Melaka’s requirement,” Adly said.

He added that KPKT would also decide on contractor’s selection, believed to be a result of an open tender process.

Should the project take off, Melaka would become the second state that is utilising the WTE incinerator technology after Negri Sembilan, which would have its plant up and running within two years.

An earlier TMR report stated that KPKT had aimed to establish more WTE plant projects at the southern region of Peninsular Malaysia, including in Johor.

KPKT had also relocated the reportedly largest WTE plant in Taman Beringin in Kepong, Kuala lumpur, to Serendah in Selangor, to manage waste produced by the Klang Valley residents.

The government had also aimed to establish one WTE incinerator for each state in the longer run.

WTE plant, which converts solid waste into electricity or heat, is an environmental friendly and cost-effective way of energy recovery that is expected to last up to 30 years.

Based on the government’s statistics, Malaysia generated 42,672 tonnes of waste daily last year.

The figure is expected to rise to 44,888 tonnes per day as the population increases, especially in cities.