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Indian Railways to get its first waste-to-energy conversion unit

By January 2020, pretty much all kind of waste generated at Bhubaneswar’s railway station, carriage and coaching depot will be converted into light diesel oil that can be used in furnaces and gas that can be used to keep the waste-to-energy plant running.

This will be done using a patented technology developed by Indian Railways’ Bhubaneswar-located Carriage Repair Workshop, called Polycrack.

The world’s first such process, Polycrack converts multiple feedstocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water, according to Manas Poddar, chief workshop manager, Mancheswar workshop, Bhubaneswar, Indian Railways.

This will be the third such facility in India. The same technology is being used for waste-to-energy plants at New Delhi and Infosys, Bengaluru, said Poddar.

A lot of non-ferrous scrap is generated in workshops for which there is no efficient method of disposal. As a result, they find their way to landfills, which is environmentally hazardous.

Polycrack can be fed with all types of plastic; petroleum sludge; un-segregated municipal solid waste with moisture up to 50 per cent; electronic waste, automobile fluff, organic waste including bamboo, garden waste; jatropa fruit and palm bunch.

No pre-segregation

Polycrack’s strength includes not requiring pre-segregation of waste, allowing waste as collected to be directly used. With a high moisture tolerance, drying of waste is not required,

Waste is processed within 24 hours. The working environment is dust free as the unit is enclosed and the air quality of the surrounding area is not hit. Also, the area required for installing the plant is less when compared with the conventional method of processing, and all constituents are converted into energy.

“A Polycracker Plant of 500kg per day capacity at Mancheswar Workshop will process every type of waste material except metal and glass to produce Low Speed Diesel, organic carbon for industry and bio-gas. There will be no residue,” said Vidya Bhushan, General Manager, East Coast Railway.

“The initial operating cost will be approximately ₹9 per day. The plant will consume the generated diesel oil and bio-gas to meet its energy inputs. Such a plant of 5kg per day is working at New Motibagh Colony, New Delhi and Infosys, Bengaluru. However, many such plants are working abroad. The plant is slated to be commissioned on January 10, 2020,” Bhushan added.

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