Gurugram signs MoU for new waste-to-charcoal plant

The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Thermal Power Corporation on July 10 for the establishment of its first ‘waste-to-charcoal plant’ at the Bandhwari landfill, said officials. They have also confirmed that Faridabad will also receive its own waste-to-charcoal plant, with power minister Manohar Lal Khattar finalising these projects on Friday.

The municipal-corporation is trying to expedite the construction of boundary wall of waste-to-energy plant at Galand to get rid of city’s daily solid waste in Ghaziabad as of May 2023. (HT Photo)

MCG commissioner Narhari Singh Bangar announced that the plant will convert 600 metric tons of waste generated from the city into 200 metric tons of coal once fully operational. “Trial and testing of the Urban Waste to Charcoal Plant were conducted earlier this month, with NTPC bearing the capital expenditure. MCG will provide the land and the waste collected from across the city. The plant will produce 200 metric tons of green charcoal daily from the city’s waste,” Bangar said.

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A final meeting was held in Delhi, where the project, having undergone several tests, was given the green light to begin next month, officials said. The waste will be transported to the plant from various parts of the city by garbage transportation vehicles deployed by MCG, they added. Bangar also said that Faridabad would get a similar plant, with Khattar approving the project.

The Urban Waste to Charcoal Plant will be established by NTPC and is expected to be completed within 18 months, said officials aware of the MoU. They further added that a recent test successfully converted 50 metric tons of waste into green charcoal. This initiative follows the cancellation of Ecogreen Energy’s contract for solid waste management, which had left MCG in a bind over new waste processing tenders. With this development, MCG will no longer be responsible for the landfill site. Once operational, the plant will remove the burden of tenders and processing units that are under scanner, they said.

Former Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had laid the foundation stone for a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plant at Bandhwari on December 10, 2021, with a completion target of 2024. Officials noted that NTPC had launched a similar, successful project in Varanasi in February this year.

According to officials, the new plant will utilise torrefaction technology, which involves the thermochemical treatment of feedstock at 300 to 350 °C to break carbon polymer bonds and release volatile gases in the absence of oxygen. This process, conducted in a sealed reactor, makes the resultant flue gases easier to clean and the final product, torrefied charcoal, hydrophobic with a high heating value similar to conventional coal.

Bangar explained that the waste-to-charcoal plant poses fewer pollution risks compared to WTE plants due to anoxic heating and low emissions. The torrefied charcoal process requires less expensive flue gas treatment and produces higher power generation potential. In contrast, WTE plants need scientific landfill disposal of fly ash and specialized pollution control measures due to the generation of dioxins and furans.

The MCG Commissioner also highlighted several challenges MCG faces in waste management, including the processing of legacy waste, non-segregation of waste by generators, and the failure of bulk waste generators to achieve 100% onsite processing. The lack of land for transfer stations and fresh waste processing, along with the delay in the WTE plant’s installation, has hindered the waste management system’s overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Ecogreen had previously signed a concession agreement with the Haryana government in August 2017 for municipal solid waste management and the establishment of a 15MW WTE plant in Bandhwari. Officials noted that once operational, the WTE plant would have a capacity to produce 25MW of energy daily, with two boilers processing 750 tonnes each per day.

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