Taiwan’s industrial parks have long faced waste disposal challenges. The reshoring of many Taiwanese manufacturers in recent years amid the restructuring of global supply chains has added to these challenges. Taiwan’s already limited industrial waste-processing capabilities have been stretched to capacity, as is evident from the increasing cost of disposing of waste. In light of this trend, Taiwan Cube Energy (TCE), the island’s first industrial waste-to-energy (WtE) solutions provider, seeks to address Taiwan’s pressing waste disposal needs.
TCE has invested heavily in the construction and launch of a WtE plant in Taoyuan. Once completed in 2024, it will be the first privately owned facility of its kind in Taiwan and is expected to generate 160 megawatt-hours of electricity per year while incinerating approximately 150,000 tons of industrial waste. TCE’s backer for the project, I Squared Capital, a global infrastructure investor based in the U.S., has been involved in supporting the Taiwan government’s renewable energy goals. Its efforts include the development, construction, and operation of over 400 megawatts of solar capacity in Taiwan.
TCE’s planned WtE facility is in full alignment with Taiwan’s goal of developing its circular economy, one of the key components of the Tsai Administration’s 5+2 Innovative Industry initiative. It also accords with President Tsai’s 2050 target date for net-zero carbon emissions. The plant will help manufacturers resolve their pressing waste output issues while also helping the government achieve its goal of transforming the energy mix, including 0.813 gigawatts of renewable energy produced from bioenergy and waste sources, by 2025.
“We have spoken to many manufacturers and waste collectors who struggle with disposal of their industrial waste,” says TCE Chief Executive Officer John Cheng. “In the past, companies could export their waste overseas to China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand for recycling or treatment. But since those countries have now banned the import of foreign waste, the amount of industrial waste in Taiwan is increasing and disposal fees have tripled over the past three years.”
Demand for renewable energy power generation also continues to grow as many Taiwanese manufacturers have moved their China-based operations to Taiwan.
“When manufacturers began returning to Taiwan to set up their facilities, they faced several challenges,” says TCE Project Development Director Melody Huang. “In addition to water and power issues, waste disposal continues to be a pressing issue for them as landfill sites in Taiwan are limited in capacity, and public incinerators are not equipped to handle or prioritize industrial waste. This is where we can help.”
“We are extremely grateful to Minister Wang Mei-hua, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan, and the rest of the Taoyuan City Government for their strong support of the development of TCE’s facility in Taoyuan,” says CEO Cheng. “Without their leadership, guidance, and support, TCE would not have been able to achieve its current state of development nor to begin the construction of our facility.”
TCE has already secured the future supply of several hundred tons of non-hazardous industrial waste per day from key suppliers in Taoyuan County. In addition to this existing client base, TCE will continue to engage with other potential waste suppliers across Taiwan to help meet their non-hazardous industrial waste disposal needs.
How It Works
TCE’s WtE method begins with the receipt of industrial waste, which undergoes a process to sort out incombustible materials such as metal, dust, sand, and stone. These are later sent to manufacturers to be used as recycled construction materials. The remaining waste is shredded and separated according to their calorific value, converted into solid recovered fuel (SRF), and sent to the TCE power plant in Taoyuan, where it is converted to electricity.
The Taoyuan plant’s design ensures a WtE conversion efficiency of over 25%, compared to the 18-21% associated with traditional incinerators. In order to minimize excess waste from the WtE process, pre-treatment will be used to reduce the amount of bottom ash produced during incineration, with any remaining ash recycled and converted into building materials.
Apart from its environmental benefits, the TCE plant provides a secure energy source for manufacturers.