Mass combustion incineration technology dominated the proceedings at Ripon Buildings on Tuesday.
Of the six presentations made for proposals for the proposed Kuthambakkam waste-to-energy plant by company representatives from various countries, five were on incineration technology. Only one proposal was about gasification technology.
The proceedings were part of the Chennai Corporation’s attempt to select a company to draw up a plan for the proposed Kuthambakkam plant, which will deal with the city’s increasing burden of solid waste. As the city’s solid waste has high moisture content, the civic body has so far failed to find a suitable technology to dispose of it.
The Corporation had earlier short-listed six companies out of 10.
The proposals were screened by a technical committee of experts. Official said the experts, who have completed scrutinising the proposals, are likely to reject technologies that would pollute neighbourhoods.
Incineration technology uses a chemical reaction, in which carbon, hydrogen and other elements in the solid waste mix with oxygen in the combustion zone, and generate heat. More than 5,000 kg of air — a massive amount — is required for each tonne of solid waste to burn.
The presentation on the incinerator systems focussed on maximising the heat output and minimising emissions. The result presented was a complete incineration of solid waste, with the production of an inert residue, which was one-tenth of the initial weight.
However, concerns with such a system include the emission of fine particulate matter and toxic gases, as well as the disposal of liquid waste.
Of the initial 10 bids received by the civic body from private companies, for the setting up of plants to process municipal solid waste, six had proposed that such a facility be set up in Kuthambakkam. Many of the solid waste management plants visited by a team of Corporation officials in countries such as China a few months ago have adopted incineration technology.
A chunk of the 4,900 tonnes of the city’s waste is likely to be processed in the proposed Kuthambakkam plant. Energy is likely to be generated if the technical committee clears the proposals.
Initially more than 2,500 tonnes of municipal solid waste generated in the southern parts of the city will be processed in Kuthambakkam. Preference will be given to the waste-to-energy technology but the identification of clean technology to suit the wet solid waste of Chennai will be a challenge, said officials.