Waste-burner CEI to make its own equipment
China Everbright International (CEI), the mainland's largest builder of waste-to-energy plants, plans to spend 135 million yuan (HK$161.5 million) on an equipment production plant in Jiangsu province.
Waste-to-energy, a form of energy recovery, is a process of generating heat or electricity by burning waste.
By expanding into equipment design and manufacturing, CEI hopes to cut the procurement costs of buying waste-burning furnaces and develop a new profit-generating operation. In-house design and manufacturing could help enhance its competitiveness, since many projects are awarded via open tender.
CEI is the environmental services and clean-energy arm of the state-backed China Everbright Group, a financial conglomerate focused on industries.
The facilities would be built in two phases in Changzhou, said Hong Kong-listed CEI chief executive Chen Xiaoping yesterday after a ground-breaking ceremony of the third-phase development of a household waste-to-energy project in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. The first phase would be built this year at an estimated cost of 90 million yuan. The second phase would cost 45 million yuan, but its timetable was not set.
'By designing and making our own furnaces, we can save 40 per cent to 50 per cent compared with imported equipment,' Chen said. 'Domestically-made furnaces can also better meet our needs.'
Mainland household waste is not sorted as well as the rubbish in some developed nations when they arrive at landfills or incinerators. As a result, mainland waste has a lower heating value and imposes different technical requirements on furnaces.
In addition to making household waste furnaces, the plant will also make furnaces that burn agricultural waste and methane gas extracted from municipal waste to electricity generation.
Chen did not provide the plant's annual production capacity, but said it will primarily meet domestic needs, with a long-term plan to export to other Asian nations.
Besides expanding into equipment manufacturing, he said CEI would also move into the international market in the next few years.
The company currently has 52 projects that are either operating, under construction or in preparation, involving a total investment of just over 11 billion yuan.
Of these, the only overseas project is a 50 megawatt solar farm in Germany, whose installation is expected to be finished by the end of June.
'On June 1, I'm going to Malaysia and the Philippines at the invitation of the Asia Development Bank (ADB),' Chen said. 'The bank hopes that we can bring our experience and technology to other Asian nations.
In 2009, ADB provided a US$200 million credit facility to CEI to develop waste-to-energy projects, of which half has been drawn down so far. One of the conditions of the loan is that CEI must help Asian nations deal with their municipal waste through technology transfers, equipment sales or project investments.
Chen said CEI would request an increase in the credit line to help fund its rapid expansion, but he declined to disclose the amount the company would seek.
The increase in profit in CEI's 2010 financial year, when it reached HK$616.4m. Turnover rose by the same proportion to HK$2.93 billion