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East Delhi Civic Body’s New Technology To Convert Waste To Energy May Bring Big Breakthroughs In Urban Waste Management

If used successfully, the gasification technology will produce up to two megawatts of power from 100 metric tonnes of solid waste

EDMC sanitation workers go on strike
  • Gasification will double the amount of energy currently produced from waste
  • EDMC plans to use the technology in smaller waste-to-energy plants
  • The civic body plans to launch a pilot project on the technology in March

New Delhi: Over the last few years, urban municipal corporations across India have experimented with technologies to manage waste better. In 2017, municipalities in Thane and Chandigarh finalised plans to set up pyrolysis plants which break down plastic into smaller molecules and converts them into fuel. 2017 also saw Chennai municipal corporation coming up with two waste to energy plants, redirecting about 40 per cent of the city’s garbage to these plants. India generates over 1,00,000 metric tonnes of waste daily, of which only 33,665 metric tonnes (roughly 33%) is collected and sent for recycling. The rest, ends up in landfills, vacant spots and even along roadsides. Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, urban municipalities like Thane, Chandigarh and Chennai have focused on transforming waste into energy and now the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) is working towards developing a new technology to treat waste.

‘Gasification’ as the technology has been named, is being currently developed by officers of EDMC. The new technology doubles the amount of energy produced from the segregated waste, compared to the technology currently used during incineration of waste. Under gasification, a carbon-rich material like coal or biomass will be used for conversion into gas, which will then be fused with solid waste to generate thermal energy.

Using this technique, EDMC officials are expecting to generate two megawatts of electricity from 100 metric tonnes of solid waste. Incineration plants manage to produce roughly one megawatt of electricity from 100 tonnes off solid waste.

Given the crisis surrounding landfills in Delhi, we decided to work on technology that utilises solid waste effectively and provides better output. Once the gasification technology is finalised for usage, we can definitely transform waste into energy using minimum effort for higher output,” said Ranbir Singh, Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

In 2017, the collapse of the Ghazipur landfill prompted EDMC to take stock of waste management infrastructure in the areas under its jurisdiction. The civic body will turn the erstwhile landfill site into a waste-to energy plant, with bio-methanation plant installed to extract methane from waste. EDMC is confident that the gasification technique will work in smaller plants, thereby transforming a significant amount of its 3,000 metric tonnes of daily waste into energy.

“Gasification will enable us to convert into energy the waste that is brought to smaller waste treatment plants. The process will be quicker and energy output more, and till we finish installation of a bigger waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur,” said Mr Singh.

The gasification technique will incur minimal cost to EDMC, as the municipality is looking to use biomass predominantly to be used in gasification. EDMC estimates that compared to the cost of transporting solid waste from settlements to landfills, taking them to nearby waste-to-energy plants and applying gasification technique will bring down expenses by 25 to 30 per cent. Presently, areas under EDMC jurisdiction segregate around 300 tonnes of waste daily, though the civic body is trying to increase the amount via further awareness.

On the second week of February, EDMC conducted a meeting with Beltran Technologies, a US based firm already working on gasification and asked for a detailed project report. The EDMC is targeting to implement the gasification project on pilot basis by March 2018 end. The civic body has identified six sites near slum settlements where smaller sized waste-to-energy plants are being set up.

Transporting garbage from these slums to a landfill site is cost intensive. If the gasification technology is successfully implemented, EDMC will no longer carry solid waste from these slum settlements to Ghazipur. Instead it will be processed, using gasification, in the smaller waste-to-energy plants.

EDMC’s technology will solve much of the urban municipality’s garbage problem, if successfully implemented. The technology will also see proper usage of biomass, a stance the Union government is advocating to lessen dependency on fuels. The success of gasification may ensure that the technology is replicated in other urban areas in the country struggling to manage their waste.

Also Read: Union Environment Ministry Will Soon Come With A Policy To Manage Landfill Sites In The National Capital

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