IIT Madras Develops Solid Waste Combustion Chamber Commissioned at BHEL Plant

This indigenous pilot plant, based on a “rotary kiln” to efficiently incinerate unsorted municipal solid waste generated in India, was inaugurated on Friday by Prof. V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has developed and deployed a local municipal solid waste combustion pilot plant at Bharat Heavy Power Plant in Trichy district, Tamil Nadu. This combustion plant is based on “rotary kiln technology” to efficiently process unsegregated municipal solid waste generated in India.

Developed entirely in-house, this facility can process up to one tonne of unsorted municipal solid waste (MSW) per day and generate steam as a primary output, as well as clean gaseous emissions and ash as a by-product. This initiative was part of the Ucchatar Avishkaar Yojana (UAY) project funded by BHEL, Ministry of Education, Government of India. It was developed by researchers at IIT Madras at the National Center for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD). This factory also plays a key role in the “Swachh Bharat Mission”.

This unit was inaugurated on May 27, 2022 by Prof. V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, at BHEL Trichy. Dr. R Vinu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, who led the project, participated in the event along with other BHEL officials and professors from IIT Madras. The whole process, from installation to commissioning, was completed in six months. This plant is installed in the premises of the BHEL Trichy combined cycle demonstration plant.

“Waste management is becoming an important issue that requires scalable solutions and also contributes to quick and safe disposal. The first-of-its-kind solid waste incinerator developed by IIT Madras not only solves the problems of scale and safe disposal, but also generates heat leading to wealth creation of waste,” Prof. Kamakoti said.

MSW generated in India amounts to approximately 133 million tons per year, of which more than 85% ends up in landfills. Total solid waste generation in Tamil Nadu is 14,600 tonnes/day with approximately 5,400 tonnes/day generated in Chennai (TNPCB, 2021). The generation of MSW is increasing by 1.3% per year with a current generation per capita of about 0.5 to 1 kg/day.

After the separation and use of bio-organic waste for composting, vermicomposting and biogas production, more than 2,500 tons/day of bio-inorganic waste, including plastics and materials with high calorific value, are dumped in landfills. However, the Indian solid waste management industry is worth $13.62 billion by 2025.

According to the leaders of BHEL, who partnered for this project, Indian municipal solid waste is heterogeneous and complex with high humidity (40-50%), low calorific value (≤ 2 kcal/g) and high inert matter. , unlike MSW of Western origin. . Existing incineration systems do not involve energy recovery and lead to toxic emissions. The MSW incineration system designed by IITM addresses most of these challenges and provides users with many desirable features in its design and operation. The need of the hour is both the reduction of the volume of waste and the creation of value through the energy recovery of heterogeneous MSW.

“The initial phase of testing with a smaller scale rotary combustion unit at the National Combustion Research and Development Center at IIT Madras with several grades of waste has given us great confidence in building this improved unit. scale with effective emission control at BHEL Trichy. The data from this unit of BHEL will help us to systematically scale up the process in a distributed and centralized way,” said Dr. R Vinu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, who led the project.

BHEL would further do a lot of testing and optimize the operational philosophy for future scaling and market it as a reliable and user-friendly product.

The combustion chamber uses a mesh screen to separate inert particles on the fly while maintaining the combustion of heterogeneous waste. It has already been well tested at IIT Madras for a variety of mixed waste and up to 40% moisture in raw material. The plant also contains robust emissions treatment units including a bag filter, wet scrubber and dry scrubber to filter and capture pollutants ensuring emissions are well within standards.

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