Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 plants to convert Mumbai's garbage into energy

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MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed the setting up of at least 10 waste-to-energy plants to process 8,000 metric tonnes of garbage generated everyday in the city. It is, however, not clear what the BMC plans to do with the power that is generated.

Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said each plant will require five to six acres to process at least 1,000 metric tonnes of garbage.

While some processing plants will be set up at existing dumping grounds in Deonar, Mulund and Kanjurmarg, the BMC has zeroed in on land in Mahim-Dharavi to process the island city's waste. It is scouting for land for the western suburbs.

Adtani said, "We have told the development plan department, which is preparing the DP, to identify land for the purpose. The only open space available is on the sea-front. We will have to seek clearance from the Union ministry of environment & forests. But it should not be a problem as it will tackle an environmental problem.''

The need to set up processing plants arose as the BMC's earlier plan to shut down the Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds is under investigation.

A clause for the ambitious project on the develop-build-own-operate-transfer model was leasing the dumping ground land to the contractor for Re1 per square metre. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has set up a special investigation team to probe the contract.

Adtani said the BMC will go ahead with the new project and cannot wait for the investigation to be completed. "We shall go by the findings when the decision comes,'' he said.

The BMC will invite expressions of interest from across the globe over the next fortnight for the new project. Unlike the previous project, where the operator was to make the full investment, the BMC will invest 50%.

"We can go in for full investment but we do not wish to do that to ensure that the city gets the right technology. With a 50% stake, the contractor will have to ensure the scheme works to its fullest,'' he said.

In Deonar, 60 hectares will be converted into a green hillock after scientifically treating waste and ensuring outlets for gas, which will then be flared at the Gorai dumping ground. Of the remainder 65 hectares, 20 will be used for the plants to process the waste and around 10 hectares as a landfill for the inert material generated from the plant. In Kanjurmarg, 65 hectares will be used for the plant and in Mulund it will be 10 hectares.

Adtani said they wanted to ensure minimum transportation and hence have processing plants in the island city and the western suburbs.

While the new project will ensure no dumping of garbage, smell will continue to be an issue. "Garbage will be brought to the plants round-the-clock and it takes time to offload from the trucks. Even if we spray a deodorant, there will be trucks queuing up,'' he said.

The closure of the Gorai dumping ground was planned so that gases released would be used to generate 4MW of electricity but it is still to become operational.