KOCHI: If everything goes as per the schedule, the Brahmapuram waste-to-energy plant which will be the first gasification plant in India will be operational by 2019. The GJ Nature Care and Energy (GJNCE), a subsidiary of GJ Eco Power, a UK based waste-to-energy company headed by Giby George will be investing Rs 300 crore for the project under the design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBOFT) agreement with the state government.
GJNCE won the global bid for the waste to energy project at Brahmapuram recently. The land has been given on lease to the agency. Of the Rs 300 crore being invested for the project, 70 percent will be used up to meet the mechanical cost.
“The government has allocated the land. But since some portion is marshy, the authorities need to fill it. Also, we are yet to get clearance from more than 20 agencies including the Pollution Control Board. However, with the help of KSIDC, we are looking for a single window clearance from all the agencies in order to expedite project implementation. We hope to begin operation by 2019 or 2020. We have already invested around Rs 18 crore to conduct studies and design the project,” Giby George, managing director of GJNC said.
The plant will have a capacity to process 800 tonnes of waste daily. The waste has to be transported to the plant by the local self-governing bodies including the Kochi Corporation and other satellite municipalities.
Brahmapuram waste to energy plant will be the first in the country in which gasification process will be used. Even though the cost scale tips to the heavier side, a gasification plant will be an effective waste treatment project for Kerala where garbage segregation has not been successful till now.
“In gasification process, the waste is heated instead of burnt as in other plants. So pollution won’t be a matter of concern. The waste is heated at 900-1,000 degree Celsius to produce energy. Several products including bricks and bean bags can be made after processing these wastes,” he said.
As many as 8 MW energy can be generated by the plant. A unit of electricity will be provided to KSEB at a price of Rs 15. The price of the electricity can be brought down if the government invests in the project. Electricity can be provided to private establishments like the Infopark and the SmartCity.
Electricity will be the major revenue generator for the plant. It would take around 6 to 7 years for the company to reach the breakeven point. It will also generate 120 jobs. “80 percent of revenue will be generated through the sale of electricity. Rest of it can be generated by the sale of byproducts like bricks and poly bags,” Sudeep Nair, finance director of GJNCE said.
Since segregation of household, e-waste and plastic waste has not been successful in Kochi, Brahmpuram plant will be a boon. It will have the capability to process consolidated waste. It can even process e-waste which is becoming a headache for the authorities now. “The waste treatment plants in India cannot be constructed like in Europe or Japan. Here, all kinds of waste have to be processed. Our plant has the capability to accommodate all kinds of waste,” Abilash Abel, Business Head of GJ Power Private Limited.
‘Rs 1,500 crore for waste plants across South India’
GJ Nature Care and Energy (GJNCE) will invest Rs 1,500 crore in next five years in the waste-energy plants that are to come up at various south Indian cities. Starting with Brahmapuram in Kochi, GJNCE assumes that a lot of energy can be generated from the waste accumulated at various cities in South India. “We have to think about generating wealth from the waste. If the accumulated waste is processed, we can generate abundant energy,” Giby George, MD of GJNCE said.
GJNCE with the help of technical experts from Europe has been studying the waste management system and the possibilities of generating energy from waste in different cities in South India for past five years.
The company has been in discussion with the local self-governing bodies in Chennai, Bengaluru, Madurai and Coimbatore. As far as local investors are concerned, V-Guard group chairman Kochouseph Chittilapilly is associating with the project. “We are mostly looking for foreign investors. However, investment from well-known business groups in Kerala is welcome,” Giby said.
‘Improper waste management’
What Kochi lacks is a proper mechanism for waste disposal, say the studies carried out by GJ Nature Care and Energy (GJNCE). During the studies, the company could track 132 places in the city where waste is being dumped daily.
According to Giby George, MD, GJNCE, even the water bodies are suffering due to the careless dumping of waste. According to the study, around 800 tonnes of waste is generated in the city. Of this less than 200 tonnes is transported to the waste disposal areas, while the rest gets dumped in open places or the water bodies.
“While doing studies for the waste to energy plant, we took out a sample of soil from Kadambarayar river. The soil had become thick due to the frequent dumping of waste. On digging deep in the river bed we retrieved plastic,” Giby George, said.
Abhilash Abel, business head of GJ Geo Power Limited said dumping waste in water bodies will not only affect human but also aquatic organisms. Chemicals from the waste get consumed by the fishes. These chemicals then enter the human body when people consume these fish, he said. Even though the Corporation and the residents’ associations have installed CCTV cameras to trap people dumping waste on the road sides, the enforcement activities have not proven to be a success.