Metrowater’s latest green gambit

Chennai Metrowater will call in a consultant to validate its latest eco-friendly initiative – generation of electricity from methane captured at the three new sewage treatment plants at Perungudi, Nesapakkam and Koyambedu. The validation is a must to earn a carbon emission certificate which will enable Metrowater to trade its carbon credits internationally. Meanwhile, the agency’s attempts to get a similar certificate for its existing plants are in the final stages of completion.

The design of the new plants includes the activated sludge process and bio-gas engines that are necessary to capture methane and thus reduce emission of greenhouse gases. This was after the successful implementation of the method at the existing plants that process 264 million litres of sewage daily.

The three new plants are being built to deal with the additional load of sewage from localities recently merged with the city. While the Perungudi plant that can treat 60 million litres a day(mld) recently became operational, the facilities at Nesapakkam (54 mld) and Koyambedu (120 mld) are being constructed.

The water agency had earlier hired PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon to prepare project concept and design note with details on technology adopted, amount of greenhouse gases emission and environmental benefits of the project to earn carbon credit. Nearly 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases will be reduced every year, according to estimates.

However, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body that is administers the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) system under the Kyoto Protocol, stipulates that a separate firm must conduct a review. It is in this context that Metrowater will appoint a consultant to validate the project according the UN body’s guidelines and register it as CDM project. With a certificate, Metrowater can trade the carbon credits in the international market. The agency expects to generate revenue of Rs.4 crore every year.

“We are also in the process of getting host country approval from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, which is the authority designated by the UNFCCC,” said an official.

Officials of the Metrowater said that besides reducing electricity bills and preventing greenhouse gas emission that contribute to climate change, each of treatment plants would also provide employment to 30 residents who will be involved in the operation and maintenance of the plant.

Meanwhile, the agency’s attempts to obtain a similar certificate for its existing plants have faced a hitch as the UN body posed certain queries regarding the conformance to norms. Metrowater recently submitted a report with clarifications on the process being carried out in the four plants and is awaiting approval.

“The eligibility criteria have been made more stringent and we are designing the new projects according to the guidelines. We are also studying whether any other Municipal Corporation has initiated a similar project,” the official added.

About 39,000 units of electricity are being generated daily in the sewage treatment plants and this has helped in saving electricity worth nearly Rs.30 crore since 2005.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:03:08 AM |

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