Korea depends on imports for 97% of its energy needs. Therefore, it is imperative that the country comes up with methods for extending the production and distribution of new and renewable energy. As of 2012, the ratio of total domestic primary energy to new and renewable energy was a mere 3.18%, but the government plans to increase the portion of new and renewable energy to 20% by 2050. The remarkable fact is that currently, over 67% of new and renewable energy is produced from waste, and its production cost is cheaper at 10% of solar power and 66% of wind power. Thus, energy production using waste has emerged as the method that can realize new and renewable energy in the most effective way at an early stage.

The total production of Korea’s new and renewable energy in 2012 was 8,850,000 TOE5). Among this, the production of renewable energy converted from waste6) was 3,220,000 TOE, which accounts for 1.2% of primary energy and 36.4% of new and renewable energy. The largest amount of energy was collected from residual heat from waste incineration facilities or landfill gas. Thus, the government needs to promote a more active waste-to-energy policy to expand its programs to include the production of Solid Refuse Fuel (SRF) using combustible waste and establishment of SRF power plants, and electricity production and upgrading facilities using biogas from organic waste.
5) TOE (Tonnage of Oil Equivalent)
6) Waste gas excluded, biogas and landfill gas included.

The Ministry of Environment disclosed its Measures for Waste Resource and Biomass Energy in October 2008 and an implementation plan for the same measures in July 2009. According to the measures, the amounts of combustible waste and organic waste are 3,840,000 tons/year and 7,850,000 tons/year, respectively. Only 1.5% (58,000 tons/year) of combustible waste and 2% (160,000 tons/year) of organic waste are used as sources of energy. Against this background, the ministry is pushing ahead with relevant measures to increase the percentages of recycled inflammable and organic waste to 90% (3,450,000 tons/year) and 36% (2,830,000 tons/year), respectively, by 2020

Waste-to-Energy Goals( 

Since 2007, the government has gradually increased the budget to offer subsidies to waste-to-energy facilities, and is currently providing about 105.3 billion won in financial aid to such facilities in local governments across the country in 2014.

As a result, there are currently nine SRF facilities and boilers in operation, and 12 such facilities are being built as of June 2014. Also, a total of 10 facilities for converting organic waste to biogas are in operation across the country, including the Seoul Metropolitan Landfill Site and in the Dongdaemun District of Seoul, and seven facilities of the same kind are being designed or are under construction in major cities, including Daejeon and Jeonju.

Institutions for Waste-to-Energy

To facilitate the waste-to-energy measures, institutional improvement and statute revision are underway. First, as the ocean dumping of organic wastes was banned in 2012, a legal amendment was made to ensure sewage sludge that was usually dumped into the sea could be used as fuel at coal-fired power plant. Also, the raw materials and manufacturing methods for solid refuse fuels became diversified through the revision of relevant laws to facilitate measures to convert combustible waste to solid fuel. Moreover, the SRF Product Information Management System (www.SRF-info.or.kr) has been operating since the end of 2010 to promote information exchanges between SRF manufacturers and consumers.

Eco-friendly Energy Town

Starting in 2014, the Ministry is actively pursuing a project to create Eco-friendly Energy Towns, which are designed to return profits to the residents by combining the production of new and renewable energy such as waste energy and solar photovoltaic energy. The ministry developed a project model aimed at improving the welfare and income of local residents by using waste resources such as food waste, and livestock manure and biomass to produce energy, including heat and electricity, or by providing or selling the gas and heat generated from landfills or incineration facilities to the surrounding areas, and is conducting a pilot project in Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do. Also, it plans to establish three Eco-friendly Energy Towns each year in the future.

For more information, please contact us :
Public Relations Team  (mepr@korea.kr)   
Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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