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Maldives begins transforming waste to energy at Vandhoo

Ahmed Aiham
23 July 2019, MVT 14:18
The waste management centre in Vandhoo, Raa Atoll. The facility boasts the first facility of its kind to generate electricity via waste incineration in Maldives. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
23 July 2019, MVT 14:18

Maldives, on Monday, began generating energy from waste through the facility opened in Vandhoo, Raa Atoll - a first for the country.

In an interview with local media Mihaaru, Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan dubbed the operation a "first step towards fulfiling the government's pledge to monetize waste in the country".

The Vandhoo Regional Waste Management Centre was established with the intent of managing waste from the Atolls of Noonu, Raa, Baa and Lhaviyani and is carried out via concessional loan assistance from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The project was contracted during the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

In order to produce electricity, blades of a turbine generator are rotated using high-pressure steam that is generated by heating water from the thermal energy generated by burning solid waste.

"The facility will generate approximately 140 Kilowatt-hours of electricity today", said the Environment Minister.

Explaining that smoke discharged from the incineration plant would meet the required air quality levels for re-release into the atmosphere, the minister further highlighted the need for such facilities stating that waste is "one of the biggest issues faced by Maldives."

"There is a dire need to solve the many challenges citizens face".

Dr. Hussain also noted that 94 percent of current energy production is via burning diesel, adding that the project will reduce state expenditure on electricity production.

"This is a historic day; a day our efforts welcome significant progress".

The facility established in Vandhoo is smaller than the center proposed for the greater-male' region, to be developed in the waste management island of Thilafushi, Kaafu Atoll. Experts estimate that the power plant built in the central region could, in all probability, generate 8.5 megawatts of electricity.

A waste-to-energy project was proposed for the island of Addu City as well, said to be capable of producing 1.5 megawatts of energy.

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