Rs. 100-crore project to be completed by mid-2014; will produce power from solid waste generated in Tambaram and Pallavaram

Preliminary civil works for a waste-to-energy power plant began at Venkatamangalam village on Monday.

The non-incineration facility will produce power from solid waste generated in Tambaram and Pallavaram municipalities.

A bhoomi pooja was performed at the 50-acre site at Venkatamangalam, located around 15 kilometres from Tambaram and coming under Kattankulathur panchayat union, Kancheepuram district.

The project is being executed under a public-private partnership on a design, built, operate and transfer (DBOT) scheme. The Rs. 100-crore plant, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-2014, is expected to generate three megawatts of power every hour.

K.M.R. Nissar Ahmed, Pallavaram municipal chairman, said of the total project cost, Rs. 20 crore would be covered by a grant under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, while the rest was pooled by Essel Infraprojects, the lead partner in the project.

The plant would be designed to handle 300 tonnes of solid waste every day and Essel Pallavapuram and Tambaram Municipal Solid Waste Private Limited — a Special Purpose Vehicle created for the purpose — would also be in charge of operating and maintaining the facility, including landfill sites, for 20 years, Mr. Ahmed told presspersons here.

The chairman said, even after the commissioning of the plant, the two municipalities of Pallavaram and Tambaram would continue to be engaged in primary collection, and the garbage generated in the two towns will be transferred to the plant in Venkatamangalam by the private company. The municipalities would pay Rs. 500 for every tonne of garbage transferred from the towns to the plant site.

On how the plant would operate, municipal officials said the garbage brought to the plant site would be segregated into degradable, recyclable and other inert waste. The wet waste would be dried with blowers to rid them of moisture and once that is done, the weight of the garbage would come down by 50 per cent.

The garbage would then be sieved, shredded and subject to a thermalisation process which would finally result in the creation of a syngas. This syngas would be used to run dynamos and create power supply, which would in turn be used for running the unit, with the surplus being sold, officials added.

The waste generated as a by-product could be either used for creating eco-bricks or dumped in scientific landfills. No part of the process would result in any form of pollution to land, water or air, the officials said.

Parthapratim Ata, general manager, Essel Infraprojects, said they were confident of completing the project on time and start generating power supply by the middle of next year.

Rochem Green Energy Private Limited would be the technical partner for the project.

Project was non-starter for years

More than a decade ago, as dumping of garbage in urban local bodies in the city’s southern suburbs took a toll on water bodies, the State government thought of an integrated facility for making compost from waste generated in Pallavaram, Tambaram and Alandur.

After scouting locations for the project, in 2006, it was decided to create the facility at Venkatamangalam on a 50-acre site.

The site belonged to the department of prisons and after transfer of property a few dozen families living on the site were evicted.

In 2008, the Centre gave its sanction for the project, whose initial estimated cost was Rs. 44 crore. Meanwhile, Alandur municipality (now merged with Chennai Corporation) pulled out of the project in 2007. After construction of a compound wall around the site, there was no progress, barring the construction of a few columns.

Work orders were issued to a Mumbai-based contractor in 2009 and civil works began a year later.

However, work came to an abrupt end and the contractor abandoned the project.

It was not until mid-2012 that it was decided to revive the project under an entirely new design and now, both the contractor and the commissionerate of municipal administration are confident the project will be in place in a year’s time.

Officials pointed out a successful project of a similar design currently in place in Pune and run by a private company whose indigenously-developed technology was patented.

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