Hong Kong is a gourmet paradise, but that comes with a massive wastage – some 3,600 tonnes of food waste is produced every day and all of them go to the local landfills. To tackle this mounting problem with a sustainable solution, the Hong Kong Government planned to build O∙PARK1, the city’s first organic resources recovery centre. Turning food waste into electricity, it is also one of the largest facilities of its kind in Asia.
Arup was appointed by the operator OSCAR Bioenergy JV to work on the detailed design to provide process, M&E, civil, structural, geotechnical and building services engineering, and architectural and landscape design for this design-build-operate project.
200tonnes daily food waste handling capacity
14mkWhannual surplus electricity to the grid
25,000tonnesgreenhouse gas reduced per year
Turning waste into energy
Located at Siu Ho Wan, a bay on the north shore of Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, O∙PARK1 is designed to receive 200 wet tonnes of source-separated biodegradable waste comprising food and other organic wastes per day. By anaerobic digestion and composting technologies, these wastes will create biogas and compost products. Apart from generating heat and power for internal use, it is estimated that about 14 million kWh of surplus electricity, an equivalent of the energy consumption of about 3,000 households, can be generated by the facility. The reduced fossil fuel use together with less organic waste going to landfills will cut some 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission each year.
A befitting design
Arup designed this facility to fit its unique purpose of handling organic waste. For example, with air pollution being a key concern, we introduced a cascade air flow strategy which can reduce the total volume of odorous gases to be treated and discharged by moving processing area with lower dusty content to higher dusty content. Such system can consume less energy and hence lower the CO2 emission.
Our structural engineers also proposed an inverted beam design in its composting hall. Such design maximises the operation headroom while minimising ventilation volume by shifting the unusable void between the beams above the roof. We also made use of the upward void for a green rooftop.
Innovative and value-added use of BIM
O∙PARK1 is a multidisciplinary infrastructure project. As the lead designer with recongnised BIM capability, Arup initiated to build a BIM 3D model from the preliminary architectural layout for better design and coordination between various collaborating parties even though it was not a contractual requirement. Our effort was well appreciated by the client and we were eventually appointed as the project’s BIM Manager to develop a new model with inputs from various disciplines, which was ultimately adopted as the as-built record.
Furthermore, we brought more value to the client through integrating the BIM model with virtual reality (VR) technology. The VR application could allow clients to conduct safety or operation training before sending their staff to work in the facility.
Realising the blueprint
With Hong Kong’s three major outdoor landfill sites will soon reach capacity, waste management infrastructure has become vital for keeping the place as a liveable city. While we realised O∙PARK1 as the first facility of a proposed network of organic resources recovery centres, Arup was also involved in another two strategic facilities in Hong Kong, namely T∙PARK, the first sludge treatment facility, and WEEE·PARK, a waste-to-resources infrastructure dedicated for e-waste treatment. These are all exemplary projects to showcase Arup’s multidisciplinary capability and strong partnership with local governments in shaping better, more sustainable cities.