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What rubbish, it's money down the drain!

Written By mediavigil on Saturday, June 07, 2008 | 9:06 PM

Note:It is well-documented that waste incineration, including waste pelletisation, pyrolysis and gasification, produce dioxins, furans and other persistent organic pollutants. Yet, people like Colin Drummond, who recently led a group of British experts in this field to India, said that his company Viridor Waste is making profits and promoted such technologies.'' Drummond is not aware that Indian waste is not suitable for energy generation because of high silt, moisture and low calorific value.

In 2005-06, the well-known The Energy Research Institute (TERI) sought to promote incinerative refuse-derived fuel technology, but the organisation admitted that its techno-economic feasibility is not established.

Since 2001, local communities and NGOs have stopped municipal waste to energy projects using incineration technologies in Kanpur, Bhopal, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Jaipur.

In 1985, the New Delhi municipality spent between 4.5m to 9.96 million US dollars employing Danish firm Volund Milijontecknik in the Timarpur area for a waste-to-energy plant which collapsed in 21 days due to the machinery's inability to handle the high content of sand and debris.

Timarpur has yet again become controversial with an Indian investment bank, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd., setting up the Timarpur Waste Management Company to generate 6 Mw of electricity through biomass gasification with a 20 percent grant, and two others in southern Andhra Pradesh state. Both plants have reportedly recently shut down.

These projects are now incorrectly trying to earn carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. ''As per the Kyoto Protocol itself, waste incineration is a greenhouse gas emitter.

In Lucknow, capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state, a 5-Mw waste-to-energy project designed to handle 200-300 tonnes of municipal waste per day, set up at a cost of 18 million dollars, besides a government subsidy of 3.3 million dollars ''has literally gone down the drain.

Source: with inputs from IPS

What rubbish, it's money down the drain!

New Delhi: Rubbish is not rubbish, it's just money being thrown away, says Colin Drummond, an entrepreneur from Britain who made his millions managing waste and generating electricity out of it.

Drummond, who recently led a group of British experts in this field to India, said here that his company Viridor Waste is now making a profit of 45 million pounds ($88 million) on a 350- million pound annual turnover, by managing 87 cubic metres of landfill and generating 75 MW of energy from it, among other projects.

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"Profit has grown by over 20 percent each year since 2000 and the market value (of the firm) has grown from 200 million pounds to over a billion pounds," Drummond told a group of would-be entrepreneurs from around India.

If you ask the average Indian what the country's biggest environmental problem is, he/she is likely to point to a garbage dump. The edge of every human settlement in India is strewn with solid waste. While others hold their noses, Drummond and his colleagues can smell money there.

"Of course there are some pre-requisites," Drummond told IANS. "The waste has to be segregated. The landfill has to be lined."

Once the segregation is done, the amount of garbage sent to a landfill decreases automatically. Britain reduced it from around 16 million tonnes in 2001 to less than 12 million tonnes in 2007 and aims to reduce it to five million tonnes by 2020.

At the same time, household recycling and composting rate in Britain has grown from 10 percent in 2001 and 26 percent in 2006 and the plan is to increase it to 50 percent by 2020, Drummond said.

Once the landfill gets segregated waste, it can generate energy both by conventional methods and by new ones such as pyrolysis and gasification, he added.

Power generation from landfill gas has increased six-fold in Britain to 4,424 Gigawatt Hours, said Drummond. "It represents 24 percent of total UK renewables, with energy from waste combustion a further six percent and anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge another three percent. And there is a corresponding reduction in methane emissions to the atmosphere."

Methane is a greenhouse gas 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Methane's contribution to climate change is still relatively unstudied.

Other entrepreneurs in the British delegation were as enthusiastic about business in India as Drummond was.

Helen Fairfield would like to reiterate the benefits of compost with a little innovation. The firm she works for has developed a compact composting unit that can handle all the fruit and vegetable waste from Manchester's wholesale market on the spot, something that would be very handy in the major markets spread around India, she pointed out.

Shantanu Banerjee, who works in Britain-based firm Enviros, has designed landfills that can provide energy and clean water in Britain, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Africa. He would now like to do the same in the land of his birth and says he now knows the special problems of designing landfills in the tropics.

More India business stories

"Every sizeable landfill site in the UK generates power. There is no reason why a similar success story cannot happen in India," Banerjee said.

2 June , 2008,


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