Leading the Smart way for Waste Management
Read review by Suhas Dixit, CMD, Pyrocrat Systems LLP on Leading the Smart way for Waste Management featured on Indiantollways where he shares his thoughts how waste can be converted into energy by separating wet and dry waste,which can be further converted into compost, recyclables (plastic, metal, etc.), refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and inert gases.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) management is an area that needs great attention, especially when  the Smart Cities Programis considered. Meet Suhas Dixit, CMD, Pyrocrat Systems LLP, whose work at Navi Mumbai is surely a case study for all to look upon. Pyrocrat is among the few companies in India that offers the patented pyrolysis technology that converts waste into energy. It is helping the city of Navi Mumbai to recycle 300 metric tonnes (about 50 truckloads) of waste. This is segregated and further converted into compost, recyclables (plastic, metal, etc.), refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and inert gases. Suhas Dixit here,  provides some review.

What is the scope of your work in India?

Pyrocrat manages 300,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. Unlike in developed countries where wet waste is segregated from dry waste, in India, everything is put all together. If this waste is separated, it can be recycled. Hence, the first step required is segregation and we are a specialist at this since it is not segregated at the source. Pyrocrat then converts this waste into energy. Pyrocrat converts waste plastic and waste tyres into diesel. Pyrocrat is present in two sectors of waste management, viz., recycling and energy recovery. There are huge gaps in these areas as the energy recovery segment doesn’t even exist in India right now. What people do is, if they cannot recycle the waste, they put it in landfills.

However, for a waste management project to be sustainable, it is not enough to think only about the social aspects. As enough importance is not given to economic viability, most waste management projects result in failures. When you want to establish a sustainable project for waste management, you have to think about three factors – social appeal, environment compliance and economic viability. This is where Pyrocrat is specialized. 

How big is the problem?

In developed countries, 80 per cent of the waste is recycled and that does not generate a great deal of wasteland. If developing economies like India, South Africa and China are considered, huge quantities of wastelands are created like ulcer patches on the earth. These patches release methane gas.  Methane is 10 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and is also the reason of the foul odour you associate with dumping yards. Approximately 5-10% of global warming happens because of methane coming out from dumping yards.

In India, in 2012, across the country, the number of oil barrels that were dumped in landfills is 57 million barrels of oil, 9 million tonne of compost and 6 million tonne of recycled material. In India, every year, around 1.3 per cent of its land is getting converted into wasteland. Around four-five years ago, there was no problem of finding space for landfills. Now, there’s a shortage. People have now started stacking up the waste above each other. The height of landfills now have gone up to a height equivalent to the fourth and fifth floors of buildings.

What are the technologies to deal with this?

The major technologies to manage waste include composting where you convert a major part of the waste into compost. This compost can then be converted into fertilizers or can be used as compost, as it is. The second technology is refuse-derived fuel (RDF).  In Navi Mumbai, Pyrocrat uses composting technology and in Chandigarh we use RDF. The third technology available is bio-methanation but this technology is risky.

How many companies are there in the country that does what you do?

Pyrocrat is the leader for this in Asia. Pyrocrat ranks about third or fourth in the world. Nobody is near us. For instance, in the first technology, Pyrocrat is the only ones who have established a plant as an engineering company, and is operational. Nobody does segregation and nobody does composting. Waste management until now, has been a huge model of corruption. However, with the new government in place and the Smart Cities mission, a lot of these tenders are beginning to come up for re-tendering. This shows that the focus is on actually finding the right companies for the job and the focus clearly seems to be on implementation.