FPG to fi­nal­ize plans for na­tion’s largest de­sali­na­tion plant


Formosa Plas­tics Group (FPG,

) re­vealed that it is in the process of se­lect­ing from sev­eral ma­jor in­ter­na­tional equip­ment sup­pli­ers, and it will be mak­ing its fi­nal de­ci­sion in the com­ing days.

FPG has pre­vi­ously ear­marked NT$5 bil­lion for its pro­ject to build Tai­wan’s first large-scale de­sali­na­tion plant in Mail­iao (

), Yun­lin County, where its sixth naph­tha cracker (SNC, ) is si­t­u­ated. Ac­cord­ing to FPG, its goal is to pro­vide 100,000 tons of fresh wa­ter per day, in hopes of min­i­miz­ing the im­pact of droughts on SNC in the fu­ture — a hedge against hard times ahead.

Pro­vid­ing 100,000 tons of wa­ter a day far ex­ceeds the size of the ex­ist­ing 22 ocean de­sali­na­tion plants in the na­tion, which pro­duce 30,000 tons per day.

Ac­cord­ing to FPG, the next steps would be to de­cide on the de­sali­na­tion meth­ods, re­search and de­vise pol­lu­tion re­duc­tion strate­gies. The pro­ject will be pro­posed to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (EPA,

) for ap­proval by Fe­bru­ary next year, at the soon­est. If the pro­ject is ap­proved next year, FPG pre­dicts the plant con­struc­tion could be com­pleted within three years.

At present, the


of equip- ment sup­pli­ers eval­u­ated by FPG, in­clude ma­jor com­pa­nies from Is­rael, Sin­ga­pore, Ja­pan and Spain, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal media.

Af­ter se­lect­ing the sup­pli­ers, FPG stated it would de­velop pol­lu­tion preven­tion strate­gies ac­cord­ing to its de­sali­na­tion method and pro­ce­dures. This is be­cause sea­wa­ter con­tains al­gae and micro­organ­isms that will clog the de­sali­na­tion sys­tem, and pro­cess­ing it would usu­ally pro­duce waste­water. Also, the fil­ter­ing sys­tem runs on elec­tric­ity, which may re­sult in energy costs and emis­sion of car­bon diox­ide, said FPG.

Head of the Depart­ment of Com­pre­hen­sive Plan­ning of the EPA ( ), Chu Yu-Chi (

), said there are no rules in place that gov­ern ocean de­sali­na­tion plants. When the FPG files its pro­ject pro­posal next year, a spe­cial team will be formed to ex­am­ine the case, con­sist­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Wa­ter Re­sources Agency ( WRA, ), the Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture (COA,

), the Depart­ment of Wa­ter Qual­ity Pro­tec­tion of the EPA (

) , among oth­ers, said Chu.

Chu stated that the EPA might con­sider de­vel­op­ing par­tic­u­lar guide­lines for ex­am­in­ing ocean de­sali­na­tion plants, since it is pos­si­ble that there will be sim­i­lar cases in the fu­ture.


A fallen bolder blocks part of the road at the 69-kilo­me­ter mark of Alis­han Road in Chi­ayi, yesterday. No one was in­jured by the rock. Traf­fic was in­ter­rupted for three hours be­fore the large bolder was re­moved from the road.

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