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AmsterdamPattern of Waste to Energy(AWECT) and its Feasibility in India

Sunday, Sep 27, 2020 12:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Sep 27, 2020 07:20 [IST]

AmsterdamPattern of Waste to Energy(AWECT) and its Feasibility in India

SANTOSH RAWAT
Amsterdam Waste Environmental Consultancy (AWECT) is a consultancy company that advices various countries with respect to waste management and also does master planning for the government. It has also been involved in designing the waste to energy technology. Not only that, they can also coach local staff and bring in operational staff for the key positions in order to make sure that the performance of the facility is up to specs. Therefore in a nutshell Amsterdam Waste Environmental Consultancy and Technology provides waste solutions for a clean society.
Energy is one of the most important factors for any country’s economic progress and development. It is that element which acts as a fuel to all machinery, plants, factories, buildings and also betters the lives of human being. However energy is limited because the means to produce it are limited. Most of the energy consumed is created as a result of mass exploitation of the natural resources and not to our surprise the resources are very limited in nature. It is estimated that by the end of this century we will need two earths to fuel ourselves which is quite impossible. Furthermore the situation is more aggravated by the fact that these resources take millions of year to form and earth as of now is losing its ability to regenerate itself. It would not be wrong to say that “Earth’s finite, but the civilization’s appetite is just infinite”. So the bigger question that draws our attention now is “are there alternative ways of producing energy without the mass exploitation of these finite resources”? The answer we believe is yes. The extent of energy use cannot be decreased at once but there are certainly alternative ways to produce energy without hurting our Mother Nature. Most of the developed countries now have started to grow economically while using less energy produced from natural resources. Partially this is because they have developed alternative ways to produce energy. One such way is generating energy from waste which we simply refer to as “waste to energy”. It is very interesting to note that most of the European countries have shifted to this method and Netherlands is one supreme example of it. The entire city of Amsterdam is powered by the energy produced from waste. So one more question that now arises is, is this method of producing energy feasible in a developing country like India. Do we generate enough waste that could act as an input to the system? Does the waste have the required calorific value? Is it morally and socially acceptable? Would it be profitable for the company that produces energy from waste? There are plethoras of questions and the aim of this report is to study the answers to such questions and understand the feasibility of such a technology in India. But before undertaking the burden of feasibility analysis let us understand what is Waste to Energy and why is it so important in today’s world.

Waste to energy:

In a layman’s language WTE can be described as a system that takes waste as input and gives energy in the form of electricity or heat as an output. This process actually helps minimize waste. Its other benefits include:
•    Dumping waste in landfill results in the emission of green house gases specifically methane which is one major ingredient responsible for climate change. WTE facilities reduce the dependency on landfills and as such emission of gases does not take place to a large scale. Moreover diverting waste from landfills also preserves one important natural resource i.e. land.
•    The energy derived is renewable and generating energy through waste actually prevents scarce resources from going extinct.
•    The economy of the community is also enhanced as setting up of such facilities and operating it requires manpower and thus creation of full time job takes place.
•    It also reduces the dependency of energy imports and the environmental costs associated with it, if energy could be produced in our regional domain.
Although the benefits seem to give us an idea about the adoption of such technique but it is also a well known fact that every good thing has a cost associated with it. The setting up of such technology requires huge capital investments and maintenance of such technology is a herculean task. Moreover the incinerators used in the technology can emit metals, dioxins and furans which may be present in waste gases, water or ash. However the benefits outnumber the costs that come along and in this need of the hour WTE serves the purpose of reducing the environmental woes that has haunted us with the advent of globalization and development.
The growing world economy and urban population, rising income levels and consumption has brought with itself an influx of problems. One such is the amount of waste generation and which when not treated properly results in another multitude of problems. To deal with such problems most of the developed countries have started treating waste as another form of resource which when utilized to its full capacity can result in energy in the form of electricity and heat. So this chapter is basically built on the context of whether such system can hold in a country like India and if it does where could be the hotspot for that. Moreover such system to function effectively requires fundamental set of criteria such as waste generation capacity, quality of the waste, technologies available and much more. This chapter also does a background check on the above mentioned factors and throws us significant amount of information which can be used to fulfill our objective for the understanding the current waste to energy market in India.

Waste to energy: Indian context

India has a soaring population of around 1.3 billion which is almost around 17% of the world’s population and by this one can clearly imagine the amount of waste that is being produced. The total waste generation hovers around 60-65 million tons per annum and of which roughly 20% is actually treated due to the lack of efficient waste management systems and the rest 80% finds its way into the landfill. Given the current urban trends it is not surprising that Municipal Waste quantum can see an increase of double the existing volumes 10 years down the line. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy estimates it to grow around 165 million tons by 2031.
Furthermore the amount of waste that is being treated is abysmally low and the techniques deployed for treating include biomethanation, pyrolysis, gasification and mass burning. All these methods are not free from faults as mass burning causes a serious threat to the environment and for biomethanation wet biodegradable waste is required. Moreover the potential of generating energy from waste lies at 2.54 GW (source world bank report, 2018) out of which only 5% is being harnessed at the present stage. So it can be inferred that there lies huge potential for businesses to make use of the opportunity that the waste market in India presents.
So how could one tap into the underlying potential that the waste market in India presents. One answer would be the introduction of converting waste to energy through incineration technology as incinerating the waste does not require source segregation and moreover it is highly efficient. Another reason to adopt this technology would be that it is more environmentally friendly. By this we can actually infer that incineration technology is actually the need of the hour and therefore India can actually build onto its waste potential through the use of it.
The main agenda of this chapter was to identify the hotspots that could serve as potential areas for the setting up of such technology. For that purpose to be fulfilled, analysis was carried out on various parameters on different states such as the state population, the Gross State Domestic Product, Investment Index, Waste generation capacity per day, Political Stability, Waste to Energy legislations and many more. The two states which made the cutoffs and were ranked the best suitable areas were Karnataka and Tamilnadu.
Karnataka has a state population of around 66.17 million and therefore the amount of waste that is generated proportionately stands at 10000 metric tons per day. Moreover it is ranked 6 in political stability and 9 in investment index. Also numerous waste to energy legislation find its place and the energy tariff rate (Rs 7.08) is also quite high compared to other states. This allows us possibly to choose Karnataka as one state and similarly for Tamil Nadu the state population is 76 million and it ranks the best in political stability and for investment purposes it stands second. The waste generated amounts to 15,547 metric tons and the energy tariff rate is approximately around Rs 6.3 which undeniably leads us to choose Tamil Nadu as the second state.
(gyanbahadurkshetri@gmail.com)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi