Energy recovery from waste in India: An evidence-based analysis

Jonathan Nixon, Prasanta Dey, Sadhan Ghosh

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    34 Citations (Scopus)
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    The uptake of Waste-to-Energy (WtE) in India has not been successful and the majority of plants have failed to sustain operations. There is a lack of detailed on-the-ground research examining the causes of plant failures and the issues regarding the WtE supply chain. Thus, this study set out to identify how WtE practices in India can be improved by gathering and evaluating empirical evidence. Local government officers, industry practitioners and academics involved in waste management in India were consulted. Quantitative data were collected on three case study plants: an incinerator, a gasification plant and a plant co-firing waste with coal. The gathered information was evaluated by making a comparison with two European waste incinerators. The major problem with WtE in India has typically been perceived to be poor source segregation; however, the case study plants highlight that severe contamination has been occurring during transport and storage. In comparison to the European incinerators, the WtE plants in India had a low capital cost (around 1–2 million €/MW), but total particulate matter emissions were a hundred times higher, ranging from 65 to 75 mg/Nm3. We conclude with recommendations for delivery contracts, financial incentives and regulations on dumpsites, ash disposal and stack emission measurements.

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, [21, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.seta.2017.04.003

    © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-32
    Number of pages11
    JournalSustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments
    Early online date24 Apr 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Waste-to-Energy (WtE)
    • unicipal Solid Waste (MSW)
    • Energy-from-Waste (EfW)
    • Energy policy
    • Waste management


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