How to make energy out of waste ?

Waste to Energy Technology A Practical Approach in India.

WASTE…. To deal with the waste produced by everincreasing population and changing life style is getting more and more difficult day by day. Minimization of waste is not the final solution to this problem. Though the minimization of waste will reduce the efforts for future, but the current waste has to be treated properly rather than dispossing off in open dumps or low lying area i.e. landfills.

One thing we all are neglecting that, whatever we have dispossed off as waste has the high calorific value. So it can be used as the energy source. In todays world, where the energy demand is huge, suistainable devlopment is being focused, enegy feasible systems are the best option to be used. Todays waste definitely can serve as the energy for tommorow. ULBs (urban local bodies) must practise such technologies for the production of fuels, sin-gases, or other energy options as Electricity. Technology is available for such energy productions and the Govt. of India is supporting such initiatives by Local bodies or the private organizations working over it.

The available Waste to Energy options…..

1. Incineration: It is the simplest of option used in ancient UK for keeping the houses warm and for protecting from extreme cold. Yes, the combustion of waste. In indian conditions where the 300 days of year having bright sunshine, it can be a good option as drying of waste will not demand any energy input. The heat generated from combustion can be used for production of electricity, and the ashes after combustion can be used in production of bricks.

2. Pyrolysis: It is thermochemical decomposition of organic waste in absence of oxygen. Typical indian waste is rich in organic contents so Pyrolysis can be a good alternative. The process yeilds the bio-oils and biochar. Bio-oils can be used as fuels while biochar can be usede as soil conditioner to increase the fertility.

3. Biomethanation: This is the technology that is oldest technology used in various households for production of biogas used for coocking purpose. Improved technology of biomethanation can increase yeild by almost 70-80%. Methane gas is produced during anaerobic decomposition of waste. The generated methane if mixed with LPG or CNG in proper constitution can increase the efficiency 5 to 6 times the current.

4. Refuse Derived Fuel, and other technologies like gasification can produce the gasious fuel like Hydrogen, essential to run an IC engine.

Legislation for Waste to Energy technologies:

Government of India “Manual on MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT (CPHEEO)” outlines as under:
“While every effort should be made in the first place to minimize generation of waste materials and to recycle and reuse them to the extent feasible, the option of Energy Recovery from waste to also duly examined. Wherever feasible, the option should be incorporated in the overall scheme of waste management.”
The Policy of the Government is therefore to encourage energy recovery from waste.

According to the current Legislation by MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest) Dumping of waste is not at all acceptable. Because Dumping results into generation of methane due to natural decay of biomass. Methane generation is is harmul for the environment as it has the highest global warming potential, 72 times more than Carbon. in addition dumping also results into ground water contamination and surface water pollution.

Legislation making treatment of MSW as mandatory as per Section 15 of The Environment (Protection) Act 1986 defines severe penalties:
1. “Be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention.”
2. “If the failure or contravention referred to in subsection (1) continues beyond a period of one year after the date of Conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

But our Urban Local Bodies are affraid of taking waste to energy option in consideration for waste management. Hence, still in Indian condition, Mostly open Dumping and in some megacities, Sanitary Landfills are in practise. Sanitary landfills are acceptable solution but only for non degradable or stabilized waste.

If all the local bodies starts practising such technologies, we definitely become the Garbage free country, just one thing we have to do…. Keep the Waste Segeregated. Because The time is always right to do what is right.

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