[Gasification] Myanmar: Engineering society preparing code for gasifier standards

Tom Miles tmiles at trmiles.com
Mon Mar 19 00:54:01 CDT 2012

Myanmar Times: Engineering society preparing code for gasifier standards

By Juliet Shwe Gaung
Volume 31, No. 619
March 19 - 25, 2012

MYANMAR Engineering Society is working to establish an industr;y standard
for the building and operating of gasifier electricity plants, a
spokesperson said last week.

U Thoung Win, chairman of the society's energy and renewable energy
committee, said some gasifiers, which work by burning biomass - typically
rice husk, are creating environmental problems.

"We can see some weak points from the operation of gasifiers," he said.
"These include weaknesses in the designs and construction that typically
leads to unclean exhaust gasses and water, which are polluting the land,
water and air.

"Although we've heard of a number of specific problems in Rakhine State, we
believe people in many areas face similar issues," U Thoung Win said. 

The committee discussed the matter with a number of industry experts in
mid-February and is drawing up a set of basic standards, he said. 

U Thoung Win added that the MES document would include waste management
standards, as well as a template design for gasifiers.

"We've heard that some people [living near gasifiers] have been diagnosed
with cancer or are not living as long as they perhaps should as a result of
the gasifiers," he said.

"And we've heard that some gasifiers have poisoned ponds, killed fish and
rendered water undrinkable in some ponds that waste water has flowed into,"
he said.

However, U Thoung Win said it would not be difficult to set basic standards
because other countries have faced the same problem and MES could examine
what solutions have worked elsewhere.

"The reason we use rice husk-powered gasifiers is because we grow so much
paddy. But if the ash content [of the rice husk] is high, we need to work
hard to reduce the tar content in the waste products," he said.

He said he was trying to set up a non-government organisation to focus on
renewable, sustainable and green technology. 

U Zaw Aye Maung, Minister for Rakhine Affairs under the Yangon Region
government, said most power supplied in that state was generated by
localised electricity generation groups. 

He said towns and villages used rice husk gasifiers with the help of experts
from Yangon but added that environmental protection standards were low.

"The main reason is that because the local people are poor, they build
gasifiers as cheaply as possible," he said. 

"They don't use higher technology systems that limit the amount of waste
products. All the waste water is discharged into streams and poisons them -
sometimes even snakes are killed.

"And water that is discharged onto paddy fields seriously reduces yields," U
Zaw Aye Maung said.

He added that gasifiers have been used widely in Rakhine State since 2004.

"Some people living near gasifiers have reported lung problems and while
people know that it's important to filter the waste products properly, this
increases the cost," he said.

U Phyo Minllian, a technical advisor to a Malaysian company that makes
gasifiers, said associated industries also needed to be standardised.

He gave an example of the company's experiences in Thailand, where it had
provided sample gasifiers to the government but was unaware that there were
standards it had to meet for the gasifiers' heat exchanger as well.

"There are also certain standards in Thailand that must be met for
accompanying products, such as heat exchangers," he said.

He added that a standard code of practice and would better protect the
environment and people.




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