The day started very early in the morning at 1 a.m. as Switzerland played against Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2014. After 118 minutes of duration and suffering we sadly went to bed. A few hours later, the same morning, we checked out from the Japanese Ryokan hotel and started the day with a long bus ride to the first company visit, the Higashiyodo Incineration Plant in Osaka.
We were very welcomed by Minoru Mizuno and were introduced to the company’s background and activities with a short film. The company, which is operated by the Osaka Municipality, opened its doors in 2010. The purpose of this governmentally operated plant is to move away from mass production and consumption to sustainable garbage handling. The main processes in recycling the waste are the following:
1. burning the waste
2. gas handling
3. power generation
4. ash splitting (in good and bad ash, reusable and waste)
The plants operating hours are 24/7 with capacity of 400 tons of waste per day. Subsequently we had the possibility to look more in-depth into the operational processes. Mr. Mizuno illuminated the functions and the usage of the boiler more clearly to us by exemplifying that the boiler is used in 460 plants. Moreover this boiler has about 1 to 2 replacements per year, which then requires a shutdown of the production line for one month to implement the replacement. Interestingly enough to notice here is the need to cool down the boiler for about 3 – 5 days before the replacement can take place.
Next Mr. Mizuno discussed the steam turbine generator, which generates electricity at 10’000 kwh maximally. This steam turbine’s operation enables the generation of 6 – 7 mio. CHF by selling the produced electricity.
After this the Central control room was explained to us. In the control room there are always about 4 -5 persons, who consequently work in shifts. Moreover there are all over cameras installed in the manufacturing places.
Lastly the platform was discussed, which has 6 gates which are served by trucks delivering the waste. Special here is, that the trash bags are transparent. This leads to an easier control of the separation of the garbage.
After a short bus we arrived at the Hitachi Zosen Corporation headquarters. At 12, a bento box was served. After lunch mister Mizuno introduced us to his company where he is the general manager of the plant sales unit. Hitachi Shipbuilding Corporation (Hitachi Zosen Corporation) is a major Japanese industrial and engineering corporation. It produces waste treatment plants, industrial plants, precision machinery, industrial machinery, steel mill process equipment, steel structures, construction machinery, tunneling machines, and power plants. Despite its name, Hitachi Shipbuilding no longer builds ships, having spun this business off in 2002. Hitachi Zosen operates throughout Asia, Central and South America, Europe and Other regions. The company is headquartered in Osaka, Japan. They generated sales in the amount of 333’433 million Yen in the end of the fiscal year 2014 which is approx. 3.2 billion USD. Hitachi Zosen is actually the provider of the machinery used in the Incineration Plant and therefore the two company visits were combined.
After the visit at Hitachi Zosens headquarters we headed directly to the airport to catch our plane to Shanghai. Unfortunately the plane was delayed for more than an hour which extended our stay in Japan a bit. This free time was used to eat our last sushi. China Eastern brought us to Shanghai where we reached our hotel with the Maglev train (which speeded up to 301 km/h) and the metro, which was more hidden than expected. All in all, we arrived well in China.