India’s western booming city of Pune will see the inauguration of a Waste to Energy plant set up by Concord Blue at Ramtekdi Industrial Area on the outskirts of Pune in an area of 2.5 acres allotted by PMC. The 1 MW plant which will be expanded to 10 MW eventually promises to solve Pune’s massive waste problems by converting non biodegradable waste into useful energy. However earlier waste to energy plants in India have met with failure because of various problems, the biggest one being segregation of waste and harmful emission generation by the plants.
Note Waste to Energy has not succeeded in India because of bad planning leading to some common factors in WTE plants failing in India
The Major Problems are:
a) Waste needs to be sorted before being burned. However in India segregation of dry and wet waste is not done. All waste including harmful chemicals and metals are burnt which lead to harmful emissions.
b) There is also the problem of obsolete technology being used. There are no standards of technology to be used. Private players put up plants with the cheapest technology which do more harm than good.
c) The location of the Waste to Energy plant also leads a lot to be desired. Building of WTE in the middle of Okhla speaks of the stupidity and ignorance of the planners (if they can be called that).
This new waste to energy plant seems to be loaded in the plant owner’s favor as the company is not only free to sell power to the grid but also gets Rs 300 per ton from the municipal corporation for taking care of the waste. Assuming that the company generates 1 MWhr of power every day, it will get a revenue of around Rs 15 lacs a month or Rs 2 crore a year from waste generation alone. With expansion to 10 MW the returns could be even higher.
Note Waste is Big Business in India with Electronic Waste Recycling becoming a big growth sector.
“We can generate 1 MW of power by processing the unsegregated waste of 3 tonnes and it requires Rs. 14 crore to Rs. 15 crore for setting up a 1 MW capacity plant,” Business Development Manager of Concord Blue Soumya Bhattacharya said.
Having already set up a plant with a capacity of generating 2.5 MW of power under BOOT (Build, Operate, Own, Transfer), the company is already generating power that is required for running the plant, and in a matter of two or three days, once it is connected to the State power grid, it will start selling the power generated out of waste. When the whole project is completed it will have a capacity of generating 10 MW of power per hour. “Our biggest problem was that of finding land for dumping waste in view of the lack of waste processing units. With 1,300 to 1,400 tonnes of waste being generated every day in the PMC limits, managing the situation was a herculean task. While the biodegradable waste could be converted into biogas and compost, still there was lot of unsegregated waste. We knew that there would be several questions as it was for the first time, but we took a risk with the ‘waste to energy’ project at Ramtekdi which now holds the solution for the ‘waste problem’”, said Joint Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation Suresh Jagtap.
As per the MoU, which is for 25 years, between PMC and Concord Blue, it is the former’s responsibility to transport up to 650 tonnes of solid waste generated in the city to the ‘waste to energy’ plant, while the company’s responsibility is to process the waste on the same day, and the company has to make all the investment for the project.