According to reports, Delhi’s second waste-to-energy plant in Ghazipur is set to begin pilot runs by the end of October. The first one is in Timarpur Okhla.
“The 12 MW plant, with Belgian technology, is set to become a landmark for the sector in the Indian market,” Mahesh Babu, Managing Director, IL& FS Environmental Infrastructure and Services Ltd (IEISL), told Business Line.
The plant has generated widespread concerns among civil society and local inhabitants over its impact on the local environment and health of residents in the vicinity.
But allaying these concerns, Babu said IEISL would undertake an area development plan once output begins.
“Today there is a greater health issue, as the dumpsite is growing…it has reached as high as a 10-storey building, surrounded by a fish, meat, flower and milk wholesale market….People are literally sitting on an urban time bomb,” he added.
According to Babu, about five million tonnes of waste is dumped in Ghazipur. “We are working with the municipality and the Government on the problem in an eco-friendly manner,” he said, and added that one problem in India was that there was no payment at the gate level.
“The processor (of waste) is not paid anything, only its collector is paid. As a result, waste is dumped, raising health concerns such as contamination, dust, vector-borne diseases and so on,” he said.
IEISL said it had a scientific way of processing every aspect of waste – biodegradable, inert and combustible. The biodegradable waste is converted into compost, the inert waste (construction and demolition debris) is turned into blocks and kerb stones.
“It is the combustible waste, such as paper, mattresses, and rubber, that we are using to produce recycled products and energy,” said Babu, adding that the purpose was to ensure that only 20 per cent waste remained, and the rest was recycled.
But Babu also admitted that the model was not ‘completely there’ right now. “We are trying to create a model that is viable, sustainable and compliant. We are making a lot of investments to meet Euro norms, and wish the Government would judge us on our output and give us incentives. “If solar is being pushed, why not this, as this is also protecting the environment,” he said.
Once power generation begins, scheduled for December 2013, IEISL will be free to sell 50 per cent of it, as 50 per cent is for sale to BSES at a fixed price of Rs 3 a unit. “We are hoping to sell it to malls and corporates etc which are willing to pay a premium for green power,” he added.
The company is also in talks on waste-to-energy plants in Bangalore and Hyderabad.