Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) developed an indigenous municipal solid waste combustor pilot plant based on a first-of-its-kind ‘Rotary Furnace Technology’ to efficiently process the un-segregated municipal solid waste generated in India.
This Combustor Plant was inaugurated on Friday by V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, and was deployed within the Combined Cycle Demonstration Plant premises at the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited factory at Trichy.
The MSW generated in India is around 133 million tonnes a year of which more than 85 per cent ends up in landfills. The total solid waste generation in Tamil Nadu is 14,600 tonnes/day with around 5,400 tonnes/day generated in Chennai (TNPCB, 2021). The MSW generation is increasing at 1.3 per cent a year with a current per capita generation of around 0.5-1 kg/day.
After the segregation and utilisation of bio-organic wastes for composting, vermin-composting, and biogas generation, more than 2,500 tonnes/day of bio-inorganic waste, including plastics and high calorific value matter is dumped in the landfills.
The Indian solid waste management industry is worth $13.62 billion by 2025.
Developed completely indigenously, this facility can process up to one tonne of un-segregated municipal solid waste (MSW) per day and generate steam as the main output along with clean gaseous emissions and ash as a by-product. This initiative was part of the Ucchatar Avishkaar Yojana (UAY) project funded by BHEL and the Union Ministry of Education. It was developed by IIT Madras Researchers at National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD).
R Vinu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, led the project. The entire process from installation to commissioning was completed within six months.
Kamakoti said, “Waste management is becoming an important issue that necessitates solutions that can scale and also help in quick and safe disposal. The first-of-its-kind Solid Waste Combustor developed by IIT Madras not only addresses the scale and safe disposal issues but also generates heat resulting in a waste-to-wealth creation.”
“It has already been well-tested at IIT Madras for a variety of mixed wastes and up to 40 per cent moisture in the feedstock. The Pilot Plant also contains robust emission treatment units including a bag filter, wet scrubber and dry scrubber to filter and capture the pollutants ensuring emissions are well within the norms,” a statement from IIT, Madras said.