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									               Alternatives to Landfill:
An Overview of Japan’s Incineration Policies and Technologies
           for Handling Municipal Solid Waste




                            Ryozo Tanaka
                            Paul Johnson
                   Science and Innovation Section
                       British Embassy Tokyo


                          June 2005

                        ________________
                             Page 1
 Contents

SUMMARY ................................................................................................................................... 3

1.      INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. 4

2.      NEW TRENDS IN MSW INCINERATION IN JAPAN ................................................... 4
     2.1.      CONSOLIDATION OF SMALL INCINERATION FACILITIES ...................................................... 4
     2.2.      EFFICIENT USE OF WASTE ENERGY .................................................................................. 5
     2.3.      COUNTERMEASURES AGAINST DIOXINS ........................................................................... 5
3.      KEY TECHNOLOGIES FOR WASTE INCINERATION ............................................... 6
     3.1.    GASIFICATION MELTING/CRACKING TECHNOLOGY .......................................................... 6
     3.2.    ASH MELTING TECHNOLOGY ........................................................................................... 7
     3.3.    WASTE POWER GENERATION............................................................................................ 7
     3.4.    OTHER RELATED TECHNOLOGIES ..................................................................................... 8
        3.4.1. Refused Derived Fuel Technology.............................................................................. 8
        3.4.2. Biomass Utilization..................................................................................................... 8

4.      CONCLUSION ..................................................................................................................... 8

5.      REFERENCES...................................................................................................................... 8

Annex 1: Statistics of MSW in Japan ............................................................................................ 9
Annex 2: Public R&D Initiatives on Waste Gasification Power Generation............................... 10
Annex 3: MSW Gasification Technology Suppliers in Japan.......................................................11
Annex 4: Useful Information Resources (Japan) – URL Links.................................................. 12




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                                                             Page 2
Summary
Japan, in contrast to the UK, has relied heavily on incineration as the primary route to treat and
dispose of municipal solid waste (MSW). Nearly 80% of MSW is incinerated in Japan compared
to around 9% in the UK. Japan has already developed a number of incineration technologies,
which are being applied on a fully commercial basis.

Earlier environmental issues, such as dioxin emissions, have largely been eliminated. The
numbers and efficiency of waste power plants has steadily increased in recent years.
The key technologies covered in this report and of interest to the UK include gasification
melting/cracking technology, ash melting technology, waste power generation, refused derived
fuel technology and biomass utilization.

Clearly, not all aspects of the Japanese model will be applicable to the UK. However given the
level of investment and infrastructure in place, UK stakeholders may well benefit by learning from
Japan’s experience to meet the landfill reduction targets of the EU Landfill Directive.




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                                           Page 3
1. INTRODUCTION
Under Article Five of the EU Landfill Directive which took effect in 1999, the UK needs to find
ways to treat an increasingly large volume of municipal solid waste (MSW) that has, thus far, been
sent to landfill. The UK is required to reduce MSW landfill to 75% of the 1995 level by 2010, 50%
of the 1995 level by 2013 and 35% of the 1995 level by 2020.
Japan, in contrast to the UK, has not relied on landfill for disposal of MSW or indeed other waste
streams due to a lack of suitable sites. Hence, there has been a need to develop and implement
alternative technologies to cope with high volumes of MSW. (See Annex 1 for basic data related to
waste management in Japan.)
Japan has relied heavily on incineration as
                                                             Incenerat ion  Landfill     ot her
the primary route to treat and dispose of
MSW, compared with the UK and other                 Japan
OECD nations as shown in Figure 1. 78%
of MSW in Japan is incinerated every year.              UK
MSW management in Japan has focused on
                                                   France
minimising sanitary risks such as the
spread of infectious diseases and the Germany
reduction in volume and weight of MSW.
Generally speaking, incineration can                  Italy
reduce waste volumes by between 90 and
95%. In weight terms, this is equivalent to a        USA
reduction of between 80 and 85%.
This report focuses on incineration policies                0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
and technologies in Japan and will be of          Figure 1. Comparison of treatment and disposal
interest to those involved in finding routes of MSW in OECD nations (Source: OECD
alternatives to landfill in the UK.                   Environmental Data Compendium 2002)

2. NEW TRENDS IN MSW INCINERATION IN JAPAN

2.1. Consolidation of Small Incineration Facilities
In 1997, the Japanese government requested
                                                    2,500                                300,000
local authorities to increase the size of their                                                Waste Treatment Capacity (ton/day)
                                                                  Number        Capacity
                                                the Number of Incinerators




waste management areas and unify small                                                   250,000
                                                    2,000
waste incineration facilities into larger
facilities to reduce emissions of dioxins. The                                           200,000
                                                    1,500
consolidation of treatment facilities to
                                                                                         150,000
handle MSW over larger areas is expected to
                                                    1,000
increase efficient waste energy usage. On                                                100,000
the other hand, close cooperation will be
                                                      500
required between small local authorities.                                                50,000
Public acceptance for construction of large
                                                        0                                0
facilities, especially by nearby residents, is a           1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
key issue. Increase in waste transportation          Figure 2. Number and capacity of MSW
costs is another disadvantage. In accordance      incinerators (Ministry of Environment, 2005)
with Government policy, the number of the
incinerators has decreased whilst the waste treatment capacity of MSW incinerators has remained
approximately the same as shown Figure 2.

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                                           Page 4
2.2. Efficient Use of Waste Energy
As shown in Figure 3, heat recovery
systems (HRS) have been installed in                                           1200
around 69% of Japan’s incinerator network,                                                                                None
                                                                               1000
producing mostly hot water for heating.                                                                                    31%
                                                                                800                                                   HRS




                                                    Number
                                                                                600                                                  69%
Electric power generation (EPG) is carried
out by around 260 (or 18% of) waste                                             400
incineration facilities. Although this is a                                     200
small proportion of the total facilities, it
                                                                                   0
does amount to around half of the MSW
                                                                                        Hot Wat er       St eam          Power       Ot her
treatment capacity in Japan on a volume
basis. Figure 4 shows that whilst almost all                                      Figure 3. Incinerators with HRS
of Japan’s 75 largest waste incineration                                        and end-use of heat energy as of 2002
(>600t/d) facilities have been fitted with                                      (Source: Environment Ministry, 2005)
power generation facilities, only 11 out of
the 902 incinerators with a capacity less                                                        with EPG           without EPG
than 100t/d can make the same claim. This
                                                MSW treatment capacity (t/d)


is a product of economies of scale, where                                      600 -        69     6 (5%)
there is little economic justification for
installation of energy recovery plants in                                      300 -                        (9%)
                                                                                             98      33
low capacity incineration facilities, some of                                   600
which do not operate on a continuous basis.
                                                                               100 -
                                                                                             85                      297              (26%)
                                                                                300
The efficiency of power generation is, on
average, low at slightly over 10%, although                                                                                           (61%)
                                                                                - 100       11                           891
a number of recently commissioned plants
have achieved and sustained levels over the
20% mark. A number of factors limit the                                                 0          100             200         300          400
overall efficiency including the durability                                                                   number
of materials used for boiler and super          Figure 4. MSW treatment capacity and EPG system
heater tubes which restricts maximum                 (Source: Ministry of Environment, 2005)
steam temperature used.

2.3. Countermeasures against Dioxins
Dioxin emission from incinerators drew great attention in the 1990’s. Dioxin emissions have
largely decreased since then as shown in Figure 5, as a result of Government policy and
technology developments for dioxin reduction.
Waste Disposal and Public Cleaning Law and the Air Pollution Control Law were amended and
the Control Standards for Dioxins in Emission Gases took effect in 1997. The standards were
applied to new incineration facilities and existing ones separately. Although standards for existing
facilities became stricter in 2002, a number of small-scale facilities have not been improved and
have consequently been closed.
The sediment quality standard for dioxins was stipulated by the Law Concerning Special Measures
against Dioxins enforced in 2000. This standard sets a target value of sediment quality, beyond
which remedial measures are required.




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                                             Page 5
The key technologies for reducing dioxins use high                                       6000




                                                         dioxins emission (g-TEQ/year)
temperature and stable combustion for the
incineration       process,      and        dioxin                                       5000
collection/cracking by bag filters and cracking                                          4000
catalysts for the gas emission process. Research
                                                                                         3000
and development is now focusing on cracking
technologies for reducing dioxins in the                                                 2000
environment, including the use of catalysts and                                          1000
supercritical water, as well as chemical and
                                                                                           0
biological cracking.
                                                                                                1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
                                                           Figure 5. Estimated dioxins emission
                                                                 from MSW incinerators
                                                         (Source: Ministry of Environment, 2004)

3. KEY TECHNOLOGIES FOR WASTE INCINERATION

3.1. Gasification          Melting/Cracking
      Technology
Organic wastes are thermally decomposed in a                 60
waste furnace with a low-concentration of oxygen
                                                             50
at temperatures of around 300 to 550 degrees
centigrade and converted to combustible gas and              40
                                                        number




a non-combustible fraction. This process is called
waste gasification since the majority of the waste           30
is gasified, instead of being burned with oxygen.            20
Gasification technology offers significant
advantages over conventional incineration in                 10
which wastes are burned. These include lower
                                                              0
levels of dioxin formation, lower emission of
                                                                  1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
gases, enhanced separation and recovery of
metals. Another key advantage of this technology              Figure 6. Gasification facilities
is the capability of processing large volumes of         (Source: Ministry of Environment, 2005)
untreated mixed wastes, as well as capture of
heavy metals in a chemically stable slag.
The resultant char (unburned carbon) and pyrolysis gas (thermally decomposed gas) are high
calorific fuels and are typically combusted with air in a secondary furnace which serves to melt the
ash fraction in the char to a slag. Additional energy is not needed for this ash melting process if the
wastes have a certain calorific level. Some systems include a cracking process in which the
pyrolysis gas is converted to reusable products such as fuels and chemical materials. There are also
systems that use a coke oven in which slag is produced directly, without generation of char.
Pyrolysis gas can be used to generate electricity by means of a heat boiler. Annex 2 outlines recent
public R&D initiatives on waste gasification power generation.
There was limited spread of gasification technologies since the first gasification plant was built in
1979. However, about 20 companies have became involved in technology development of
gasification systems since the 1990’s, see Annex 3. The number of gasification facilities has grown
to more than 50 as shown in Figure 6. This is despite the total number of incinerators decreasing
from 1769 in 1998 to1490 in 2002.
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                                                Page 6
3.2. Ash Melting Technology
Ash melting technologies add a post process to conventional incineration. The ash is melted at
high temperatures of more than 1200 degrees centigrade and converted to a black glassy material
or slag. This technology reduces the volume of ash to between one-third and one half, but
generates almost no dioxins due to the high temperature. The slag can be reused as a component of
concrete or as materials for road construction.
High cost, mainly due to the energy required, has been an obstacle to the spread of this technology.
To encourage local governments and owners to install ash-melting facilities, the Japanese
government in 1993 amended the subsidy scheme for incineration facilities and issued guidelines
to stimulate slag usage. Wider implementation of the technologies is now expected. There were 67
ash-melting facilities in 2002.

3.3. Waste Power Generation
Figure 7 shows that the number of waste power
                                                               300
plants has increased in recent years. New plants
tend to have a higher efficiency of power                      250
generation. Super Waste Power Generation
plants, in particularly, have about 30% power
                                                      Number   200

generating efficiency, double the average figure               150
(10-15%) of conventional waste power plants
and not far below the 40% efficiency of thermal                100
power plants. The most innovative plants
                                                               50
combine a waste power plant and a gas turbine to
maximize efficiency. About 15 plants are now in                 0
operation in the world and four of them are                          1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
operated in Japan, see Table 1.
                                                            Figure 7. Waste Power Plants
                                                       (Source: Ministry of Environment, 2005)


                Table 1: Specification of Super Waste Power Plants in Japan
                                 Takahama,         Sakai,             Kitakyushu,        Chiba,
 Site
                                  Gumma            Osaka               Fukuoka           Chiba
                                                                                    Kawasaki Heavy
 Maker                         Hitachi Zosen       Kubota               Takuma
                                                                                       Industries
 Waste Treatment Capacity        450 ton/day     460 ton/day          810 ton/day     405 ton/day
 Power Generation Capacity       25,000 kW       16,500 kW            36,300 kW       18,000 kW
     Gas Turbine Output          16,000 kW        4,100 kW             8,000 kW         9,000 kW
     Steam Turbine Output        10,000 kW       12,400 kW            28,300 kW         9,000 kW
 Power Generation Efficiency       34.3 %          21.1 %               26.5 %           26.5 %
 Operation Started                  1996            1997                 1998             2003
(Source: Institute of Applied Energy and others)




                                       ________________
                                            Page 7
3.4. Other Related Technologies
3.4.1. Refuse Derived Fuel Technology
 Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) technology converts                50
combustible wastes such as raw garbage, waste
plastics and used papers to solid fuels. After being          40
crushed and dehydrated, the waste is mixed with




                                                       Number
being burnt lime, then pressed and solidified. The            30
calorific power of the fuels is about 4000 kcal/kg,
corresponding to about half of that of coal. The              20
technology contributes to effective waste energy
                                                              10
use, reduction of waste volume, reduces dioxin
and supports large waste management areas. The
                                                               0
Japanese government introduced a subsidy
                                                                  1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
scheme for RDF production facilities in 1994. As
a result, the number of RDF production facilities             Figure 8. RFD production facilities
has increased as shown in Figure 8.                        (Source: Ministry of Environment, 2005)
Transportation and storage of the fuel is relatively
easy due to the fact that the fuel is solid. This fact also ensures stable combustion and contributes
to reduction of dioxins. RDF power plants consume large amount of the fuel and 16 plants are now
in operation. Careful management of fuel storage has been required since an explosive accident
occurred at a fuel silo in a RDF power plant in Mie in 2003.

3.4.2. Biomass Utilization
The Japanese government published its strategy “Biomass Japan” to further expand the use of
biomass resources (including MSW) in December 2002. For example, methane gas is extracted
from MSW and the gas is used in a power plant. One plant of this type is in operation in Hokkaido
with a 400 kW power generation capacity.

4. CONCLUSION
Japan does not rely heavily on landfill for a variety of reasons and has already developed a number
of alternative measures and enabling technologies to facilitate alternatives waste disposal methods.
Many of these technologies, especially incineration technologies, have moved well beyond the
demonstration phase and are being applied on a fully commercial scale. Clearly, not all aspects of
the Japanese model will satisfy UK demands. However given the level of investment and
infrastructure in place, UK stakeholders may well benefit by learning from Japan’s experience to
meet its obligations under the EU Landfill Directive.

5. REFERENCES (in Japanese)

1) “White Paper on Recycling Based Society 2004”, Ministry of the Environment
2) “Recycle Square”, Waste Management Committee of Eight Local Governments
3) “New Technologies in Waste Incineration”, Environment Technology Information Network
4) “Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Technologies”, APEC Visual Center for Environmental
   Technology Exchange
5) “Incineration Technologies”, Japan Patent Office


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                                             Page 8
                                                                                    Annex 1
                                                                         Statistics of MSW in Japan
                                                  Table 1. Comparison of Japan & UK’s management of MSW (FY01)
                                                                                     Japan              UK
                                                  MSW produced (p.a.)               52.1 Mt          28.0 Mt
                                                  MSW per capita                  1.12 kg/day      1.34 kg/day
                                                  MSW Growth Rate (%)                  0%              +3%
                                                  MSW Recycling rate                 15.0%            12.0%
                                                  MSW to landfill                     5.3%            78.0%
                                                  MSW incinerated                    78.2%             9.0%
Weight of MSW (million ton/yea




                                            60

                                            50

                                            40

                                            30

                                            20

                                            10

                                             0
                                                   1971

                                                          1973

                                                                  1975

                                                                         1977

                                                                                1979

                                                                                        1981

                                                                                               1983

                                                                                                      1985

                                                                                                             1987

                                                                                                                     1989

                                                                                                                            1991

                                                                                                                                   1993

                                                                                                                                           1995

                                                                                                                                                   1997

                                                                                                                                                          1999

                                                                                                                                                                   2001
                                                                           Figure 1. Weight of MSW in Japan


                                            3.0                                                                                                            14
 Remaining Landfill Capacity (billion ton




                                                                                                                                                                 Remaining Landfill Capacity (Yea



                                            2.5                                                                                                            12

                                                                                                                                                           10
                                            2.0
                                                                                                                                                           8
                                            1.5
                                                                                                                                                           6
                                            1.0
                                                                                                                                                           4
                                                                   volume
                                            0.5                                                                                                            2
                                                                   year

                                            0.0                                                                                                            0
                                                   1978

                                                           1980

                                                                    1982

                                                                            1984

                                                                                       1986

                                                                                               1988

                                                                                                      1990

                                                                                                              1992

                                                                                                                       1994

                                                                                                                               1996

                                                                                                                                          1998

                                                                                                                                                  2000




                                                                  Figure 2. Remaining Landfill Capacity in Japan

                                                                                                  (Source: Ministry of Environment, 2003 and 2005)
                                                                                               Annex 2
                                                                                       ________________
                                                                                            Page 9
    Public R&D Initiatives on Waste Gasification Power Generation
NEDO, formerly METI’s funding agency for industrial technology development, has sponsored
two separate programmes aimed at increasing the efficiency of power generation from gasification
of waste.
The first program was undertaken by a consortium of heavy engineering companies who were
tasked to develop and improve a particular aspect of the gasification system. The individual
components were then assimilated by the Institute of Applied Energy, which provided an overall
cost and performance analysis. Individual work programmes consisted of work on corrosion
resistant alloys for high temperature super-heater tubes, ceramic heat exchangers, improved
handling of corrosive gases and changes in process design to eliminate energy losses wherever
possible.
NEDO’s second program focused on developing a viable system to generate power from a low
throughput incinerator. Very few of Japan’s low capacity waste treatment plants generate power
from waste heat due to unfavorable economics.

NEDO also has sponsored a field test project of a waste gasification power plant. Yamanaka, a
waste recycling company, has operated a test gas-engine power generation plant utilizing
pyrolysis gas from automobile shredder residue (ASR) to evaluate the system from technical and
economical viewpoints.


              Table 1: NEDO’s R&D Programs on high efficiency thermal systems
1   [Project] High-Efficient Gasification Power Generation Technology
    [Period] FY98-00
    [Developers] Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ebara, Kawasaki
           Heavy Industries, Hitachi Zosen, Nippon Steel Corporation, Institute of the Applied Energy
2   [Project] High-Efficient Gasification Power Generation Technology for a low throughput incinerator
    [Period] FY01-03
    [Developers] Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, NGK Insulators, Toshiba, Sumitomo Metals, Institute of
           the Applied Energy
3   [Project] Field Test for High-Efficient Gasification Power Plant
    [Period] FY99-06
    [Developers] Yamanaka




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                                            Page 10
                                                                           Annex 3
                                                         MSW Gasification Technology Suppliers in Japan
                                                                          Gasification Melting/Cracking Technology
                                                                    Direct Melting                 Fluid Bed
                                                                                       Shaft Type               Kiln Type
                   Company                                         by a coke oven                     Type                  URL
                   Babcock-Hitachi K.K.                                                               ✔           ✔         http://www.bhk.co.jp/english/index.html
                   Hitachi, Ltd.                                                                                            http://www.hitachi.com/
                                                                                                                  ✔
                   Ebara Corporation                                                                  ✔                     http://www.ebara.co.jp/en/index.html

                   Kawasaki Giken                                        ✔               ✔                                  http://www.kawasaki-giken.com/ (only in Japanese)

                   Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.                                       ✔            ✔                     http://www.khi.co.jp/index_e.html
________________




                   Kobe Steel, Ltd.                                      ✔                            ✔                     http://www.kobelco-eco.co.jp/english/engindex.htm

                                                                                                      ✔
    Page 11




                   Kurimoto, Ltd.                                                                                           http://www.kurimoto.co.jp/english/index.htm
                   Sanki                                                                                                    http://www.sanki.co.jp/ (only in Japanese)
                                                                                                      ✔
                   Toray Engineering                                                                                        http://www.toray-eng.co.jp/form/index_e.html
                   Unitica Ltd.                                                                       ✔                     http://www.unitika.co.jp/e/home.htm

                                                                                                      ✔
                   Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd                                                  ✔         http://www.ihi.co.jp/index-e.html
                   Kubota Corporation                                                                                       http://www.kubota.co.jp/english/index.html
                                                                                                                  ✔
                   JFE Engineering Corporation                           ✔               ✔                                  http://www.jfe-eng.co.jp/en/index.html

                   Hitachi Zosen Corporation                                                          ✔                     http://www.hitachizosen.co.jp/english/index-e.html

                   Mitsubishi Materials Corporation                                      ✔*                                 http://www.mmc.co.jp/english/

                   Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.                                                  ✔         http://www.mes.co.jp/english/index.html

                   NGK Insulators                                                                     ✔                     http://www.ngk.co.jp/english/index.html
Nippon Steel Corporation                      ✔            ✔                            http://www.nsc.co.jp/

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.                            ✔                            http://www.shi.co.jp/english/index.html

Takuma                                                                          ✔       http://www.takuma.jp/index.html

  Note) *: Gasification Cracking technology   (Source: Ministry of the Environment, Environment Technology Information Network)
                           Annex 4
       Useful Information Resources (Japan) – URL Links
 Ministry of the Environment
http://www.env.go.jp/en/index.html
   “Water Environment Management in Japan (June, 2001)”
       http://www.env.go.jp/en/rep/water_pamph/index.html
   “The Challenge to establish the Recycling-based Society”
       http://www.env.go.jp/recycle/panf/fig/e-guide.pdf
    “Dioxins”
       http://www.env.go.jp/en/topic/dioxins.html

 Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
http://www.meti.go.jp/english/index.html
   “Environment”
       http://www.meti.go.jp/english/policy/index_environment.html

 APEC Visual Center for Environmental Technology Exchange
http://www.apec-vc.or.jp/
   “Municipal Waste Treatment Technology”
       http://www.apec-vc.or.jp/072298new/072298a.htm




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