Mains Daily Question
March 23, 2023
Waste to energy is a key component of solid waste management. In light of this statement, analyze the state of Waste to energy plants in India.
Introduction: Present some stats with a brief introduction of working of waste to energy plants
- Mention the benefits of such plants.
- Show the state of waste-to-energy plants.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward to ensure further solutions to tackle the challenges
In India, there are roughly 200 Waste to Energy (WTE) plants with a total installed capacity of approximately 2200 MW. These facilities produce energy using municipal solid waste and biomass. The trash is incinerated at a high temperature in the energy plant, and steam is created because of the heat. After that, the steam powers a turbine to produce energy.
- Renewable energy source: Waste-to-energy facilities offer a renewable energy source that decreases reliance on fossil fuels.
- Reduction of waste: These facilities contribute to the life of landfills by reducing trash volume.
- Employment prospects: The development of waste-to-energy facilities adds to the economic prosperity of the nation.
- Efficient use of resources: The waste-to-energy process minimizes the demand for landfills, making land available for other purposes.
- These aid in reducing methane emissions from landfills, which are potent greenhouse gas.
- Revenue generating: The electricity produced by these plants may be sold to the grid, providing the government and private sector with a source of income.
Even though WTE plants are having a number of benefits their condition in India is poor owing to the following reasons:
- The high moisture content of Indian garbage creates a technological difficulty for the combustion process. Solid waste in India is 55-60% biodegradable organic waste.
- Insufficient waste source segregation: Insufficient waste source segregation makes it difficult to treat waste effectively. The calorific value of mixed Indian waste is about 1,500 kcal/kg, which is unsuitable for power generation. Coal’s calorific value is around 8,000 kcal/kg.
- High capital expenditures and poor income generation have made it challenging to recruit investors. The cost of generating power from waste is around Rs 7-8/unit, while the cost at which the States’ electricity boards buy power from coal, hydroelectric, and solar power plants is around Rs 3-4/unit.
- The lack of a comprehensive legislative framework and regulatory environment impedes the development of waste-to-energy facilities.
- The need for more public knowledge about waste management and the advantages of waste-to-energy facilities is a significant obstacle.
- Social and environmental considerations - The placement of waste-to-energy facilities in heavily inhabited regions might cause social and ecological concerns.
- Inefficiencies in the supply chain - The garbage collection and transportation supply chain is inefficient and requires streamlining.
To address the issues, a comprehensive policy framework that includes recommendations for the development of waste-to-energy facilities is required. To solve social and environmental issues, there should be more public knowledge and community participation. Innovative finance structures, such as public-private partnerships, may assist in attracting investors. Effective waste segregation at the source and supply chain management is required for the effective operation of waste-to-energy facilities.