Chapter: Science & Technology Topic: Deriving Energy From Waste Q. There are how many ways by which energy is produced from waste?
There are various procedures through which energy from waste can be generated.
A. Biomethanation: First and foremost is Anaerobic Bigestion or Biomethanation. In thisprocess, the organic waste is segregated and fed into a biogas digester. The waste undergoesbiodegradation under anaerobic conditions to produce methane rich biogas. The so producedbiogas can be used for cooking, heating, generating electricity etc. The sludge can be used asa manure depending on the composition of the input waste.
B. Combustion/Incineration: The next procedure is Combustion/Incineration which is directburning of wastes in the presence of excess air (oxygen) at high temperatures (about 800C).It results in conversion of 65%-80% of heat content of organic matter into hot air, steam andhot water. The steam generated can be used in steam turbines to generate power.
C. Pyrolysis/Gasification: Pyrolysis/Gasification is another process of chemical decompositionof organic matter through heat. The organic matter is heated in the absence or restrictedsupply of air till it breaks down into smaller molecules of gas (known collectively as syngas).The gas so produced is k n o wn a s p rodu ce r g a s wh ich co n st it u te s ca rbo n m o n o xide (25 % ), h y dro g e n a nd hydrocarbons(15%), carbon dioxide and nitrogen(60%). Theproducer gas is burnt in internal combustion (IC) generator sets or turbines to produceelectricity.
D. Landfill Gas Recovery: Landfill Gas Recovery is another measure of recovering gas from
waste dumps wherein the waste slowly decomposes to produce ‘Landfill gas’. This gas consists
of high percentage of methane (approx.50%) and has a high calorific value of about4500kcal/cubic metre and hence can be used for heating cooking and generating power.
E. Plasma Arc: Plasma Arc is a relatively new technology for disposal of wastes, particularly,hazardous and radioactive wastes. Since it involves nearly complete destruction of waste whileproducing energy, it is less polluting. It does not produce oxides of nitrogen and sulphur andmakes toxic ash left in the process easier to handle. However, the technology is costly and hasnot been tried in India.
Q. What are the advantages of using waste for Energy?
It reduces in the demand for landfills in land scarce cities.
The cost of transportation of wastes is also reduced.
In some cases, it can produce fertilizer as a by- product.
Q. What are the potential, achievements and hurdles in using waste for energy?
It is estimated that there is a potential of generating 3600MW of power from urban, municipaland industrial wastes in the country and it is likely to be increased to 5200MW by 2017.At the end of February, 2012 the cumulative achievement of grid interactive power from waste was36.20 MW in urban sector and 53.46 MW in industrial sector. In off-grid/ captive power cases the