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Waste to Energy (WTE) ~ Is it the solution to India’s waste problem?. Umesh K Baveja B.Tech, MBA December 2004, Bangalore. WTE in India ~ Background. First ambitious program to encourage WTE launched in 1995 To demonstrate that WTE is possible

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waste to energy wte is it the solution to india s waste problem

Waste to Energy (WTE)~ Is it the solution to India’s waste problem?

Umesh K Baveja B.Tech, MBA

December 2004, Bangalore

wte in india background
WTE in India ~ Background
  • First ambitious program to encourage WTE launched in 1995
    • To demonstrate that WTE is possible
    • Long-term target of producing 1700MW of energy from priority waste streams
    • Operated under the aegis of National BioEnergy Board (NBB), Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES)
    • Has an elevated status due to the contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in encouraging the integration of “best practice” waste collection and transfer to Energy
    • 16 cost sharing projects ~ usage of Bio-methanation
    • To establish a fiscal and financial regime necessary for WTE
energy from waste
Potential of Power Generation in India from Waste

Urban and Municipal Wastes : 1000 MW

Industrial Wastes : 700 MW

(Dairy, Distillery, Press Mud, Tannery,

Pulp and Paper and Food Processing

Industries)

TOTAL : 1700 MW

Energy from Waste
  • Common perception – WTE is most applicable to India
    • Reduces waste by 60 - 90%
    • Recovers resources
    • Aids safe disposal of waste – avoids pollution of land, water and air
    • Reduces Greenhouse gases

 But, is WTE the solution for India’s waste problem?

is wte the answer to india s waste problem 1
Is WTE the answer to India’s waste problem? (1)
  • Indian waste unsuitable for production of energy
    • 80% of the waste in India is organic and moist
    • Have low Calorific value (800 - 1,050 Kilo calories per kilogram)
    • Experience in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai (see notes page)
  • WTE technologies are regarded as “unused, suspect” technologies
    • WTE tech introduced in India so far are NOT based on a world-wide tried and tested model
    • Technologies like bio-methanation, incineration, combustion etc have toxic by-products that cause serious environmental problems like Acid rain, fog

 WTE technologies / projects are environment unfriendly

is wte the answer to india s waste problem 2
Is WTE the answer to India’s waste problem? (2)
  • Cost of a typical 5MW WTE plant ~ Rs 40 crores
  • Consumption ~ 150 tons of urban waste for each MW of electricity

Which is an investment of Rs 8 crore per MW ie, FOUR times cost of conventional Thermal power!!

+

And, the subsidy exceeds 50% of total project cost!

Which is …

An unjustifiable public investment of Rs 20 crore for 800 tonnes of urban waste disposal! And a cost that should be borne specifically by the waste generator

 WTE projects are economically unviable in India

wte plant lucknow
WTE plant ~ Lucknow
  • 5 MW Power Generation Project for MSW
    • Promoter
      • Asia Bio-Energy (A consortium of companies in Austria,Germany, Singapore and India)
    • Technology
      • BIMA (Biogas tech) from Austria plus some equipment from Germany
    • Capacity
      • 5.0 MW (nett), 5.6 MW (gross) power, 80 TPD manure
    • Input waste
      • About 500 TPD
    • Project cost
      • Rs 73 crore
wte major processes involved
WTE ~ major processes involved
  • Pre-treatment: Removal of inerts / inorganic / non-biodegradable matter and homo-genisation of feedstock
  • Energy Recovery: Anaerobic Digestion / Gasification / Combustion
  • Post-Treatment: Stabilisation of treated / processed material for final disposal / utilisation
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 1
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (1)
  • Incineration is the most costly discard management option
    • Incinerators are at least two times more expensive than landfills

Capital costs of incineration v/s recycling and composting

incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 2
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (2)
  • Incinerators contribute to countries' indebtedness
    • In the US, on a per ton basis, sorting and processing recyclables alone sustains 11 times more jobs than incineration
  • Incinerators are capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive
    • While Recycling / Composting is more labor-intensive than capital-intensive
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 3
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (3)
  • Wet organic materials, common in a country like India, may reduce the capacity of or shut down incinerators
    • In 1986 in Delhi, an incinerator was closed within a week after its completion because the garbage from the surrounding communities was too wet to burn. The facility cost more than US$10 million to build!!
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 4
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (4)
  • Incineration will adversely impact the informal sector and the informal sector will diversely impact incineration
    • Incinerators will impose hardships on if not jeopardize waste pickers’ livelihoods
  • Energy revenues from incinerators are often over-estimated
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 5
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (5)
  • Incinerators may require transfer stations, which is an additional cost
  • Pollution control equipment and pollution regulation and enforcement are expensive and increase costs
    • Incinerators are major contributors to air pollution
    • release pollutants such as dioxins, heavy metals, oxides of nitrogen, sulfur oxides, particulate matter, and numerous volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere
    • Neither high temperatures nor pollution control equipment can make incinerators safe
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 6
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (6)
  • Incinerators produce a toxic ash that requires disposal in engineered landfills, significantly adding to costs
    • Ash management poses severe environmental and economic problems
  • Incinerators often receive far less tonnage than they were designed to process, leading to financial problems
    • Example ~ Montgomery County, Maryland, US
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 7
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (7)
  • Lack of infrastructure in lesser industrialized countries may doom incinerators to financial failure
  • Citizens and taxpayers pay for incinerators' financial problems
    • Construction of incinerators generally ties governments into long-term contracts guaranteeing delivery of waste tonnage to the facilities at a specified fee (these fees usually escalate as time passes)
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 8
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (8)
  • Incinerators hamper least-cost options such as recycling
    • Materials commonly burned in incinerators such as paper, garden discards, and some plastics have a much higher value when used as raw materials than when used as fuel
  • Incineration consultants and "experts" can add millions to the costs
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 9
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (9)
  • Incineration's high investment costs increase potential for corruption
  • Incinerators not only put the livelihoods of waste pickers at risk, but they also reduce overall employment and business opportunities from reuse and recycling

Job creation in the US from reuse and recycling versus disposal

incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 10
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (10)
  • Incineration has high public health costs
    • Numerous studies have reported increased incidence of cancers, respiratory ailments, and congenital birth defects among residents residing near incinerators
  • Incineration wastes resources and energy
    • If the United States burned all its municipal waste it would contribute less than 1% of the country’s energy needs (Source: Dr. Paul Connett, “Municipal Waste Incineration: A Poor Solution for the Twenty First Century”)
incineration is a losing financial proposition for all 1023
Incineration is a losing Financial proposition for all (10)
  • Incinerators lower property values
    • truck traffic, blowing trash, birds and rats attracted to trash, noise, odor, and pollution caused by incinerators can all contribute to a drop in property values
  • Incineration encourages continued waste generation, diverts attention from real clean production and zero waste solutions, and reinforces the notion that unwanted discards are a local community responsibility and cost
in summary three to five times more energy can be saved by recycling materials than by burning them
In summary,threetofivetimes more energy can be saved by recycling materials than by burning them!!
the alternatives examples 1
The Alternatives ~ Examples (1)
  • Mumbai
    • A neighborhood participating in the Advanced Locality Management program in Andheri, Mumbai reduced its garbage disposal by half within two years (source: Shiv Kumar, “Mumbaiites resort to self-help to tackle civic issues,” India Abroad News Service, June 5, 2000)
  • Chennai
    • A community-based organization, Exnora International, has developed a decentralized recycling / composting approach that has the potential to divert 90% of municipal discards

 High waste prevention and diversion levels are

possible and cost-effective

the alternatives examples 2
The Alternatives ~ Examples (2)
  • Pune
    • Municipal government granted adult waste pickers authority to collect recyclable scrap by endorsing photo identification membership cards for a newly formed waste picker collective
    • Further promoted public awareness of a new discards segregation system in which the waste pickers collect, at curbside, segregated organic and recyclable materials
    • Households pay a mandatory fee to the waste pickers in return for this service. This program has benefited everyone involved (source: Poornima Chikarmane and Lakshmi Narayan, “Formalising Livelihood: Case of Wastepickers in Pune,” Economic and Political Weekly, October 7, 2000)

 Collecting segregated recyclables and

organics for composting

the alternatives examples 3
The Alternatives ~ Examples (3)
  • Patna
    • Provides little door-to-door waste collection, and does not operate any composting facilities or sanitary landfills
    • Some of the apartment dwellers have created an innovative way to handle their organic discards using their balconies and window sills
    • Residents combine organic waste, soil, floor sweepings, and dried moss from roof tops in clay pots. The mixture matures into compost in three to four months. Residents use the finished compost to grow flowers, ornamental plants, spinach, and tomatoes (source: I. Maumdar, “India,” Warmer Bulletin, Number 34, August 1999, p. 3.)

 Vermicomposting

slide30

The key to healthy communities is toredirect the millions of dollarsin investments slated for incineration systemsinto waste prevention and reduction and zero waste systemsthat maximizeboth return on investments andeconomic development opportunities