Waste2Energy : Evaluating Potential & Challenges for India

Waste is any substance which is discarded after it’s primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use in day to day life. Since prehistoric times, human activities generated waste materials that were discarded because they were considered of low value and no use. In earlier days the disposals of waste materials did not pose any significant problems as, population was limited and land was available in order to dump these wastes. However, as urbanization began along with the increase in population and limited land availability, accumulation of waste became a deceitful consequence of life. Urban India generates approximately 188,500 tonnes per day (TPD) of waste at an average rate of 0.5kg of waste per person per day. The management of this enormous quantity of waste is one of the biggest challenge in urban areas.

Waste is no Waste! Waste2Energy a general knowhow

  • Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity through variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolyzation, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas recovery. This very concept of conversion of waste to electricity is termed is Waste to Energy.

Waste2Energy: What’s there for India? A fact file

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has reported that approximately 1,33,760 metric tonnes of waste is generated in urban areas in the country in 2012-13.
  • In comparison to the levels of the developed world, of 1-2.5 kg capita/day, our per capita average generation of 450 gm/day of MSW is of course, lower. The per capita municipal solid waste generation rate reported for small towns is 200-300 gm/capita, 300-400 gms/capita for medium cities and between 400-600 gms/capita for large cities.
  • The total quantity of waste currently handled each day in the urban areas in the country is estimated to be 1, 70,000 metric tonnes i.e. about 62 million tonne per year.
  • As per 2011 census, 31.16 % population of India i.e. 377 million people live in 7,935 urban areas with 4041 municipal authorities. It is estimated that by 2050, 50% of the population will be living in urban areas. Considering that the volume of waste is expected to increase @ of 5% per year on account of increase in the population and change in lifestyle of the people, it is assumed that urban India will generate 2,76,342 TPD by 2021, 4,50,132 TPD by 2031 and 11,95,000 TPD by 2050.
  • Hence, there is immense potential for Waste2Energy in India. According to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the current potential to recover is 1300 MW from industrial wastes, and is projected to increase to 2000 MW by 2017.

India: Potential of Energy Recovery from Urban and Industrial Waste

W2E Potential of Energy Recovery-eninconperspectives.comW2E Potential of Energy Recovery Achievements-eninconperspectives







MSW Targets to be Achieved-eninconperspectives

The above given Exhibits justify the statement that India has vast opportunities in this sector as a large gap of approximately 1700 MW is to be bridged by 2017. As the economy will grow, the need of energy demand will also grow and in order to cater that demand a judicious mix of energy sources should be considered and we are sure that Waste2Energy will play a vital role in the energy mix in near future.

Challenges for India: Bottlenecks for implementation of W2E Projects

  • Absence of segregation of waste at source, the biggest roadblock in the execution of Integrated Solid Waste Management Scheme, which in turn results into improper storage and processing of the waste
  • Lack of funds available for waste management with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)
  • Lack of technical expertise and appropriate institutional arrangement
  • Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/disposal systems
  • Indifference of citizens towards waste management due to lack of awareness
  • Lack of due diligence on the part of investor and public sector
  • Non supply of committed quality/quantity of waste to the plant by municipal authority

With growing demand of power and increased government support for renewable and sustainable energy, there is greater than ever potential for these kind of technologies. Recent developments in the sector have encouraged the evolution of new processing methods, hence overcoming the technological shortcomings to great extent. As of now it is important to develop a robust regulatory and policy framework for the successful implementation of W2E projects. Further uniformity amongst the state and central government should be developed over the guidelines of waste recovery and management, which will help to formulate the desired transformation in the sector.

*The views expressed in this article are solely those of enincon perspectives and do not necessarily represent those of Enincon LLP.

Leave a Reply