The new technology – Hydro Thermal Carbonization (HTC) – can convert municipal solid waste to biofuel, soil amendment and absorbents, the premier institute said in a statement.
The current waste incineration processes adopted from the developed nations are primarily focused on treating drier waste content. These processes require high energy input to combust municipal solid waste generated in India which has high moisture content due to tropical weather, open collection systems and mixed waste. “Using the existing processes, only 20-30% of organic fraction of municipal solid waste is being recycled to biofuel.
This led us to develop a technology which can address the challenge indigenously,” opined lead researcher Prof. Brajesh Kumar Dubey from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Kharagpur.
He further added that the key to the success of the technology in Indian conditions lies in designing a proper industrial-scale reactor with improved heat integration system.
“The moisture in the waste is used to the advantage of the process which uses water for the reaction. The biofuel generated as the recovered output can help curb air pollution,” the lead researcher explained.
The technology can be used by the civic bodies to effectively manage solid wast, he maintained.
Once the organic waste is entered into the process, the “outputs generated are all usable”, Sagarika Panigrahi, another member of the research team, said. “All outputs can be used for one purpose or the other, including the water which can be converted to biogas or methane,” she added.