The city of Trivandrum with a population density of over 1,508 people per sq. km has a per-capita waste generation between 300-400 grams. This massive generation of municipal solid wastes translates into public littering, road side dumping and environmental degradation. There are many cases of operationally efficient centralized waste treatment plants operating through out the state of Kerala. Municipal waste treatment plants in Adoor and Attingal are some of such key examples. But even these plants suffer from financial loses ranging up to 40paise/kg and thus are heavily depended on recurring government grands. The scope of this project work, in a nutshell, is to design and implement a financially self-sufficient waste-to-energy plant for Trivandrum using a bio-drying (MBT) system.

Objectives of the work:

  • A bottom-up approach to design a municipal solid waste to energy conversion plant for the city of Trivandrum, adhering to the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.
  • The plant should be financially self sustainable during its O&M cycle with the need of minimal recurring grants from the government.
  • This will help in providing a centralized subscription model waste treatment service for city which is affordable for the public and economically viable from an O&M perspective.

Methodology of Work

To meet the above objectives, it is imperative that a techno-economic modeling is adopted. The concise methodology is as explained below:

  • Identify the financial constraints, goals and market status.
  • Economic evaluation of the various sub-systems of the plant including but not limited to collection, transportation, segregation, storage, mechanical separation, treatment processes, standards compliance, value addition etc.
  • Parallel design and optimization of the bio-drying plant using feedback loop from the economic analysis process to minimize end-user expenses, while ensuring maximum financial independence of the plant during its operational life cycle.
  • Environmental impact mitigation measures and implementation
  • Setting up the prototype plant.

The work is conducted for a period of 8 months in the Environmental Technology division of CSIR – National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology. The work, rooted on the four pillars of engineering; technical, economical, social and environmental; translates from lab to field and lays a foundation stone for solving ever persistent municipal waste management scenario in the city.

Done by:

Rahul Ramesh Nair

Masters Student in Translational Engineering with Mechanical Engineering discipline (2015-2017), Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, Trivandrum Guided By:

  • Dr. Ajith Haridas (CSIR – NIIST)
  • Dr. Hema Ramachandran

Organization: CSIR-NIIST