Kochi

Questions over viability of waste-to-energy plant

A view of the solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram. According to the SLMC, an energy plant is an effective solution in the field of waste management.

A view of the solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram. According to the SLMC, an energy plant is an effective solution in the field of waste management.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

SLMC slams use of biodegradable, recyclable refuse

The State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on solid waste management has said that the use of biodegradable and recyclable non-biodegradable waste at the proposed waste-to-energy plant at Brahmapuram may not be viable.

An analysis of the type of waste reaching the dumping site of the Kochi Corporation and its possible impact on the viability of the energy plant has found place in the detailed report filed by the committee before the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi.

“If non-segregated waste, including biodegradable waste, is used in the waste-to-energy plant, the captive energy required to dehydrate the biodegradable waste will make the project highly unviable due to the huge expenditure involved and the local bodies would be driven to the risk of bridging the viability gap,” said the report filed by SLMC chairman A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai.

Quantity of waste

The report said the quantity of waste generated in Kochi city was estimated at 350 tonnes to 400 tonnes per day, while the quantity received at Brahmapuram was 120 tonnes a day. Some of the uncollected waste was seen treated at source but there was no data regarding the waste treated at source and its final disposal.

It was apt to note that the major portion of solid waste coming to Brahmapuram was biodegradable waste. The moisture content of biodegradable waste was nearly 80% of its total weight. If it was assumed that 100 metric tonnes of waste was coming to the plant per day, approximately 60% (60 metric tonnes) of it would be biodegradable waste. Approximately, 80% (48 metric tonnes) of the same would be moisture. That meant nearly half of the waste reaching the plant was water, said the report

Of the non-degradable waste, only plastic, the maximum of which might be 20% (20 metric tonnes). had the calorific value that provided energy to create steam. If proper segregation happened at source, approximately half of this (10 metric tonnes) could be sent for recycling. Thus, only 10 metric tonnes of incinerable waste would be remaining to be used in the energy plant, according to the report.

The SLMC observed that the energy plant was an effective solution in the field of waste management. But such plant should not incinerate biodegradable waste or recyclable non-biodegradable waste. The incineration in waste-to-energy plants should be confined to soiled non-biodegradable waste, sanitary waste and hospital waste. The use of biodegradable waste and recyclable non-biodegradable waste in such plants had to be discouraged, it said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:12:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/questions-over-viability-of-waste-to-energy-plant/article30967107.ece

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