After several abortive attempts to go in for a waste-to-energy project, the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation’s plans to generate bio-gas from municipal solid waste is likely to take shape soon as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced allocation of funds for the project in Tiruchi and other urban local bodies.

The city on an average generated about 436 tonnes of solid waste every day. Of this, 416 tonnes are estimated to be collected and removed to the garbage dumps. This, civic officials, say offered scope for generating power from the municipal solid waste in the city.

In August last year, the corporation announced a plan to install a bio-digester at the Gandhi Market, one of the biggest markets in the State, to produce bio-gas from organic solid waste. The Gandhi Market generates about 40 tonnes of organic solid waste every day, including vegetable, fruit, and meat wastes. The corporation has hit upon the idea of going in for a bio-digester which would generate bio-gas that could be converted into energy. The concept was said to have been successfully tried in some parts of the country

Although details of the project proposed by the government, in the wake of Chief Minister’s announcement in the Assembly on Wednesday, is awaited, civic officials say that the project is likely to take off soon.

The civic body had decided to invite expression of interest for the pilot project to be taken up under Build-Own-Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model and identify an agency with necessary experience to design, operate and maintain it for three years before handing it over to the Corporation. The project could now be implemented with financial assistance from the government. The bio-digester is likely to be installed at the G.Corner grounds in the city.

The energy produced could be possibly used for public lighting.

A senior Corporation officer told The Hindu that the civic body would take up the project on a small scale, to start with, and the bio-digester would be of a capacity to handle about 10 tonnes of organic wastes a day.

“We could scale up the project later and expand the project in a decentralised manner to set up similar bio-digesters in each of the four zones in the Corporation,” he said.

Over the past decade, the Corporation had drawn similar plans at least twice earlier but all of them failed to take off from the drawing board stage.

In 2007, the civic body had explored the possibility of roping in an Italian company as technology partner for setting up the power plant. Corporation officials had then said that a study conducted by the Anna University had indicated that nearly 2.5 to 3 mega watt of power could be produced from the solid waste generated in the city.

Even last year, the Corporation announced its intent to revive a proposal to generate power from municipal solid waste and the Corporation Council approved a move to commission a consultant to prepare a detailed project report.

But civic officials say that projects on big scale could not be taken up as the calorific value of solid waste generated in the city is considered to be low. Besides, the civic body was not sure of the financial viability of such a big project and its sustainability in the absence of source segregation of solid wastes.