Oʻahu: Waste to Energy
Through incineration, Oʻahu’s H-POWER facility, working in tandem with recycling, is making a significant impact on the City and County of Honolulu's goal of reducing the amount of waste going to Oʻahu’s landfill. In 2017, more than 700,000 tons of municipal solid waste was processed through Oʻahu’s H-POWER facility, of which 507,000 tons was converted to electricity, over 22,000 tons of metal were extracted for recycling, and the remaining 170,000 tons consisted of non-combustible material that was sent to the landfill.
H-POWER reduces the weight of waste by 75% and the volume of waste by 90%. This has extended the life of the landfill by saving hundreds of acres of landfill space. Plus, virtually 100% of the ferrous and nonferrous metal mixed with municipal solid waste is recovered for recycling (see below for data on Recovered Metal).
Note: Tonnage data is gathered from independently certified scales.
Total Waste Converted to Energy
Figure 1: Total tons of waste converted to energy (Source: ʻŌpala)
Ash + Residue
Figure 2: Thousands of tons of ash + residue disposed to the landfill (Source: ʻŌpala)
Residue consists of wet organics such as food waste and other non-combustibles such as sand, dirt, grit, glass, and rocks. This material is removed through a trommel screening process because of its low energy value. Although residue is currently being disposed at the landfill, initiatives are being considered to further reduce the amount of residue.
Figure 3: Tons of recovered metal diverted from the landfill to recycling (Source: ʻŌpala).
Fossil Fuel Imports Avoided
Figure 4: The above graph represents the amount of fossil fuel (petroleum) that Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) would have to import to generate the same amount of electricity that H-POWER generates with waste. Quick fact: Burning one ton of mixed Municipal Solid Waste produces roughly the same amount of electricity as burning one 42-gallon barrel of petroleum. (Source: State of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Electric Company.)
Total Electricity Generated from Waste
Figure 5: The above graph shows the total amount of electricity produced by H-POWER and sold to HECO through a joint power purchase agreement. The State counts the electricity generated at H-POWER towards its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards goal (40% renewable energy by 2030), which includes other renewables, such as residential and commercial solar panels, biofuels, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass. (Source: State of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Electric Company)
H-POWER’s Contribution to Oahu's Energy Grid
Figure 6: The above graph shows the percentage of H-POWER's contribution to Oahu’s energy grid. In 2016, the amount of energy produced at H-POWER contributed to 6.9% of HECO’s grid. By reducing our energy consumption, we are increasing H-POWER’s share of energy on the HECO grid, which translates to buying less and burning less imported fossil fuel. (Source: State of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian Electric Company)