Amidst the growing population and the resultant energy demand, India is increasingly looking to diversify its energy resources. Renewable sources of energy are being tapped continuously and another source has recently been added to its vast repertoire, the industrial and urban waste. Considered useless until recently, technology has made it possible to extract energy efficiently out of the waste produced and with a country as big as India, the prospects of this source are even better. About 55 Million Tonnes of solid waste and 38 Billion Liters of sewage are produced only in the residential sector. Add to this the industrial waste generated and we get a clear picture indicating the abundant supply of the raw material for energy production. Waste to energy is already proving to be a booming market in India and the country is adding more power produced every year.
In 2011, India produced about 90 MW of off grid power and 70 MW of grid tied power from the waste accumulated, with the figures bound to grow exponentially per annum. The domestic and international players are gradually realizing India’s potential and investing into the fledgling market to gain the first mover’s advantage. The government is making commendable efforts to ensure that the market grows rapidly and sustainability of the country is not breached. The introduction of waste to energy conversion in past prompted the government to define clear policies under the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000.
Waste to energy essentially uses incineration technology for energy production. The technology serves two primary purposes for any area, the production of energy and safe and sure disposal of waste. India is a highly populated developing country which guarantees high residential as well as industrial waste production, making it the ideal target for investment into the sector.
India’s imports for energy have been marring the economy in the recent past which has triggered a deeper search for alternative fuels for energy. Even though waste to energy is still in its infancy in India, the market has all the necessary components to promise a resounding success in the years to come, enabling the country to reduce its energy imports while providing with cheaper and readily available power. Waste to Energy is currently being employed only as a means to generate electricity but research and development efforts are on to enhance the uses of the technology.