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Pune’s ‘waste to energy’ project pays dividends

According to reports,  imagine a situation wherein 80 per cent of the solid waste generated daily is processed to produce energy. While most cities across Karnataka, particularly Bangalore, are still battling their garbage woes, the Pune Municipal Corporation appears to have stolen a march over other municipal corporations by having a good portion of its waste converted into energy.

At a time when projects generating energy and compost out of segregated waste (mainly biodegradable waste) are catching up, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which handles 1,300 to 1,400 tonnes of solid waste every day, took the risk of going a step further by roping in a company with advanced technology which produces energy utilising unsegregated waste. And, it has clicked.

A team of Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation, comprising councillors, officials and journalists, which visited Pune on Friday saw the outcome of the initiative taken by PMC.

Initiated a year ago, the PPP model of “waste to energy” has taken shape at the Ramtekdi Industrial Area on the outskirts of Pune in an area of 2.5 acres allotted by PMC. By processing unsegregated waste, the company, Concord Blue Technology Private Ltd., with which PMC has entered into a long-term agreement, generates electricity through its patented and indigenously developed ‘Concord Blue Tower’.

The environment-friendly green technology fulfils the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European standards with regard to emissions.

“We can generate 1 MW of power by processing the unsegregated waste of 3 tonnes and it requires Rs. 14 crore to Rs. 15 crore for setting up a 1 MW capacity plant,” Business Development Manager of Concord Blue Soumya Bhattacharya said.

Having already set up a plant with a capacity of generating 2.5 MW of power under BOOT (Build, Operate, Own, Transfer), the company is already generating power that is required for running the plant, and in a matter of two or three days, once it is connected to the State power grid, it will start selling the power generated out of waste. When the whole project is completed it will have a capacity of generating 10 MW of power per hour. “Our biggest problem was that of finding land for dumping waste in view of the lack of waste processing units. With 1,300 to 1,400 tonnes of waste being generated every day in the PMC limits, managing the situation was a herculean task. While the biodegradable waste could be converted into biogas and compost, still there was lot of unsegregated waste. We knew that there would be several questions as it was for the first time, but we took a risk with the ‘waste to energy’ project at Ramtekdi which now holds the solution for the ‘waste problem’”, said Joint Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation Suresh Jagtap.

As per the MoU, which is for 25 years, between PMC and Concord Blue, it is the former’s responsibility to transport up to 650 tonnes of solid waste generated in the city to the ‘waste to energy’ plant, while the company’s responsibility is to process the waste on the same day, and the company has to make all the investment for the project.

As per the MoU, PMC has to pay a processing fee of Rs. 300 per tonne of waste and the company is free to sell the power.

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