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US team to work on waste-to-energy plant in Uttar Pradesh

According to reports, Chief minister AkhileshYadav’s initiative towards setting up a waste-to-energy power plant in the state started taking shape on Wednesday when a delegation from a US-based company gave a presentation to urban development minister Azam Khan and senior officials. The power point presentation put forth the various techniques that the company can offer for the proposed project.

The delegation from Renewable Energy Alternatives (REA) led by its chief executive officer Barnard Smith will camp in Lucknow for the next three days to take stock of the waste generated in UP and how it can be utilised to produce energy along with the viability of installing the proposed power plant in Lucknow.

Azam appreciated REA’s latest technique for producing electricity from garbage and tapping of solar energy. The REA has adopted a technique by which garbage is used to produce synthetic gas, also referred to as sin gas, which further leads to production of power. Azam said the technique’s highlight is that there is no wastage of any byproducts like ash that is left behind after garbage is treated. The quality of the ash left behind is well suited for it to be used in laying roads and construction purposes as well. Senior officials including principal secretary urban development CB Paliwal and special secretary SP Singh were also present.

A graduate in environmental engineering, CM Akhilesh Yadav has shown keen interest in encouraging production and use of alternate energy sources in UP. In January, government had approved UP’s first-ever solar energy policy. Under this policy, a target of producing 500 mega watts (MW) electricity through solar energy by March 2017 has been set.

Modalities of the financial model to be used for the purpose of installing the plant in Lucknow would be taken up by the government once the project is finalised, said a senior official of the urban development department. The project is proposed to be at least 10 times bigger than what was conceptualised by the previous Samajwadi Party government. Though a plant had been started in 2003, it was abandoned a year later due to absence of a proper solid-waste management and segregation module.

The Rs 839 million plant, which was set up on Hardoi Road with an installed capacity of 5 MW, was hailed as a national demonstration project. It was built by Chennai-based Asia-Bio Energy Limited. Though considered a dream project of then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the project was inaugurated in August 2003 by then Lucknow mayor Dr SC Rai.

The electricity produced from the plant was proposed to be sold to Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) at the rate of Rs 2.48 per unit. Besides subsidy from the ministry of non-conventional energy sources (MNES) and equity by promoters, Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited and Life Insurance Corporation of India had also provided term loan for the project.

The project process involved sorting of 600 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste per day, preparing pulp of biodegradable contents, gas production in digestion of fed pulp, electricity generation using produced gas as fuel, and composting of residues of digesters to make organic waste. But, lack of proper solid waste management and segregation coupled with lack of political will stalled the project. This time, however, the UP government is believed to have convinced the market about a strong political will to start the project.

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