There are four vital issues that affect our planet: energy resources, disposal of waste products, pollution control, and global warming. No project dealing with energy resources can ignore any one of these factors.
While it is true that the burning of some of the energy sources, crude oil in particular, contribute to pollution and global warming, the main concern is to ensure that the consumption of these resources does NOT further contribute to environmental contamination. Controlling the damage done by combustible fuels is a matter that is also under study by the founder of this company.
Organic waste happens naturally, and is always readily available. No special crops need to be grown for use in the production of this renewable energy from municipal waste. It is not dependent on geographical location, amount of sun light or wind, or other climatic conditions, therefore there is no time or weather restrains on production. The system does not use a thermal process to reform the waste. It is a self-contained system capable of generating its own power to run the required auxiliary equipment’s. The auxiliary energy requirement is low. Installation of the system is quick and running it, is fairly easy. The entire system can be automated. It is scalable from municipal and industrial applications, to individual homes. There is no need for an expense centralized system, and transportation issues and costs of liquid and solid fuels are eliminated.
Solid waste management is an issue concerning rural and urban masses. For the initiative by the government to bring about 100 smart cities, solid waste management is imperative. Awareness creation among masses about segregation of wet and dry waste at source is important. This should be carried out not only at residential but institutional level. There must be a proper management for transport and storage of waste which should focus of utilization and recycling of waste. Storage banks for similar kind of waste like food waste is important so that it can be considered for reutilization towards its proper use and the rest might go for treatment; production of clean energy from food waste for cooking purpose.
Likewise similar characteristics of waste if segregates, transported and stored to particular storage banks they can be reused towards various applications or else treated to more convenient form. Therefore it’s a responsibility of each individual to follow a pathway while generating waste at source. Proper policy step and planning could make it easier for waste management in cities if dedicated institutions are created and carry out their respective duties throughout the value chain.
Likewise for the case of waste water management, first step is to generate minimum water at source by residential, institutional and industry people. Further reuse of water within system for various applications should be the first use instead of discharging it to environment. Further proper treatment methods which are standardized for type of waste water discharges from different places should be made available and awareness to institutions and industries on this aspect becomes important. If some basic steps are taken by public and are aligned with institutional changes are made by government, then there could be better solid waste management in cities and towns.
Waste quantities are increasing and municipal authorities are not able to upgrade or scale up the facilities required for proper management of such wastes. In many cities and towns, garbage is littered on roads and foot-paths. Citizens are also not accustomed to use the available storage facilities (dust bins) set up by the authorities. At large, lack of organized system of house-to-house collection of waste has created the littering habits.
Municipal solid waste (MSW), also called Urban Solid Waste, and is a waste type that includes predominantly household waste (domestic waste) with sometimes the addition of commercial wastes, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets collected by a municipality within a given area. They are in either solid or semisolid form and generally exclude city hazardous wastes.
MSW includes commercial and residential wastes generated in municipal or notified areas in either solid or semi-solid form excluding city hazardous wastes but including treated bio-medical wastes. It consists of household waste, wastes from hotels and restaurants, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets.
Technological Routes for Waste to Energy
Energy can be recovered from the organic fraction of waste (biodegradable as well as non- biodegradable) through thermo-chemical and biochemical methods.
Most wastes that are generated, find their way into land and water bodies without proper treatment, causing severe water pollution. They also emit greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide, and add to air pollution. Any organic waste from urban and rural areas and industries is a resource due to its ability to get degraded, resulting in energy generation.
The problems caused by solid and liquid wastes can be significantly mitigated through the adoption of environment-friendly waste-to-energy technologies that will allow treatment and processing of wastes before their disposal. These measures would reduce the quantity of wastes, generate a substantial quantity of energy from them, and greatly reduce environmental pollution. India’s growing energy deficit is making the government central and state governments become keen on alternative and renewable energy sources. Waste to energy is one of these, and it is garnering increasing attention from both the central and state governments.
While the Indian Government’s own figures would suggest that the cost of waste to energy is somewhat higher than other renewable sources, it is still an attractive option, as it serves a dual role of waste disposal and energy production.
India Waste to Energy Potential
According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), there exists a potential of about 1700 MW from urban waste (1500 from MSW and 225 MW from sewage) and about 1300 MW from city waste. The ministry is also actively promoting the generation of energy from waste, by providing subsidies and incentives for the projects. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) estimates indicate that India has so far realized only about 2% of its waste-to-energy potential?
The Indian Government has recognized waste to energy as a renewable technology and supports it through various subsidies and incentives. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is actively promoting all the technology options available for energy recovery from urban and city wastes. MNRE is also promoting the research on waste to energy by providing financial support for R&D projects on cost sharing basis in accordance with the R&D Policy of the MNRE. In addition to that, MNRE also provides financial support for projects involving applied R&D and studies on resource assessment, technology up-gradation and performance evaluation.