The amount of waste produced is growing as cities and towns develop and become more industrialized. This poses one of the biggest challenges to our ecology, which is no secret. Fortunately, we have developed techniques to make use of garbage and produce energy, from unorthodox sources with little or no harm to the environment.
Let us cover the concept of waste-to-energy (WTE) as a solution for all waste types, including organic waste, home and municipal solid waste, and industrial waste in this article. We will also try to cover the topic about how cities can become more sustainable.
What is Waste to Energy?
A method called "waste to energy" uses garbage or waste to create energy.
Organic wastes, such as municipal solid waste or biodegradable agricultural waste, are converted into renewable energy and other usable goods, through the Waste-to-Energy process. The procedure produces steam, heat, or electricity that can be used for cogeneration, or to power other electrical appliances.
Where is solid waste usually disposed?
Landfills are a significant source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more hazardous than carbon dioxide. In addition to having many other benefits, waste-to-energy incineration is an environmentally friendly substitute for landfills for the disposal of trash. The anticipated expansion of the worldwide waste-to-energy market in the next years, is primarily due to this.
Types of waste
Different sorts of garbage, including organic waste, e-waste, hazardous waste, inert waste, etc., are produced by our daily or industrial operations.
Even though, they range in origin and disintegrate at various rates, all organic wastes are fundamentally carbon-based substances. Non-biodegradable and biodegradable organic waste makes up the remainder of the waste's organic component.
Organic materials that can be quickly converted into food by naturally occurring microbes, make up biodegradable waste. Agro residue, food processing rejects, and municipal solid waste (food waste, garden waste leaves, paper, cloths/rags, etc.) are all included in it. Waste from slaughterhouses and poultry farms for cattle, as well as from the dairy, sugar, paper, paper mill, oil refinery, starch processing, and leather sectors, are also included.
Organic compounds that are resistant to biological breakdown or decompose extremely slowly, are considered non-biodegradable waste. Woody plants, cardboard, cartons, containers, wrappings, pouches, old clothes, wooden furniture, dry agricultural waste, bagasse, rice husk, and other like items make up the majority of this.
Electricity can be produced using "municipal solid waste" (MSW) as a fuel source. Waste to energy (WTE) plants, also known as MSW power plants, are designed to burn MSW and generate electricity as a by-product of the incinerator process.
What is mass burn?
The most popular waste-to-energy method is called Mass Burn, and it directly burns MSW in the same way that other direct combustion technologies burn fossil fuels. Burning MSW causes water to turn into steam, which powers a turbine attached to an energy generator.
The electricity is produced in a waste-to-energy facility using mass-burn in the following steps:
Municipal solid waste (MSW) is transformed into fuel, heat, and electricity using a variety of technologies, referred to as waste to energy (WTE). This procedure makes use of pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, thermal treatment, and gasification technologies. These techniques can be used to produce energy from various waste materials, like industrial trash.
Let's examine these procedures:
1: Direct conversion of organic material into biogas is known as biomethanation. The procedure produces biogas that mostly contains methane (about 60%), carbon dioxide (about 40%), and other gases, in an anaerobic microbial environment. In addition to producing biogas, biomethanation also produces digestate, a manure-enriched wastewater.
2: When garbage (municipal solid waste or refuse-generated fuel) is completely burned with the help of heat recovery, steam is produced. Steam turbines are then utilized to produce power. To handle the flue gases generated by these boilers, a complex air pollution control system is necessary. The ash from solid waste incineration can be used as building material after proper processing, and the remaining garbage can be dumped securely in a landfill.
3: Gasification is a breakdown process that generates synthetic gas, which is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, at high temperatures (500–1800oC). Additionally, this gas can be used to generate electricity and heat.
4: Waste gasification is a potential option for solid waste thermal treatment because, its objective is to generate power more efficiently at a lower power level (less than 2MW), while also minimising emissions.
5: In the absence of oxygen, combustible materials are broken down by a process called pyrolysis that uses heat. The process produces a combination of flammable gases, mostly methane, complex hydrocarbons, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide, as well as liquids and residue.
Both of these processes produce gas, which can be either cleaned up and used in combustion turbine generators, or used to heat boilers. This process aims to increase gain while decreasing emissions.
Waste to Energy's advantages
1. Cuts down on landfill waste
The amount of waste that is dumped in landfills is decreased with the help of waste to energy conversion. Fewer landfills and lower greenhouse gas emissions result from decreased garbage.
2. Considerably more energy is produced
One tonne of garbage can generate between 550 and 700 kilowatt hours, which is enough to power one home for a month.
3. Facilitates the reprocessing of surplus waste
Waste-to-energy technology also has the benefit of reprocessing any extra metals, or leftovers, including steel and aluminium, which further reduces the quantity of waste.
4. A Sustainable and Green Approach
The technology itself is green and environmentally benign. It reduces the amount of carbon emissions released into the environment, by brushing and filtering them using state-of-the-art pollution control technology.
Potential Energy Production
The sector-by-sector examination of India's energy potential, with a focus on the urban and industrial sectors, is summarised as follows:
According to estimates, India has a total energy-generating capacity from urban and industrial organic waste of about 5690 MW. There is a tonne of power here! It is not, however, being used.
How can cities become more sustainable?
The demand for landfills is diminished by WTE facilities significant reduction of waste volume, in the most environmentally friendly manner.
Very effective waste management results in the production of much-needed electricity, filling the electrical gap. It is time for all cities to focus on this power source as a practical means of addressing municipal garbage.
A National Solid Garbage Management Program (NSWMP) has also been established by the government, with the goal of recycling or processing all waste produced in the nation into renewable energy.
How can Netsol Water assist?
Netsol has provided specialized water, wastewater and solid waste managements’ system design, and installation services to many sectors.We can help you build the optimal solution at a reasonable cost, by walking you through each stage.
At Netsol, we not only assist you in choosing the best solid waste management system for your needs, but also provide routine maintenance. If you have any questions regarding our services, please don't hesitate to contact us.
We have over 10 years of experience in water and wastewater treatment systems, and has worked hard to be a leader in the adoption of new technology.Get more information on our Advanced Integrated Process for Energy Recovery, via Integration of Wastewater and organic solid waste, by getting in touch with our design head.