Friday, May 25, 2012

Indian engineer honored for ‘waste-to-energy’ technology

Courtesy INDIA TRIBUNE, 26th May 2012
Planned, designed  and executed on the patented technology developed by  an Indian engineer,  K.S. Sivaprasad,  a “waste-to-energy” plant of Malaysia has won an international award given for top renewable energy plants in the world.
K.S. Sivaprasad was in Chicago and received the award during the annual conference of the power industry of America, “Electric Power,” at Rosemont Convention Center on May 9.
Speaking to India Tribune, Sivaprasad, who has done India proud, said that his plant was one of the six top renewable energy plants in the world selected for the award by Power, the leading magazine in the US, in the power sector.  The other five plants were — a geothermal plant, a solar energy plant and a biomass plant in the US, and a wind energy plant and a biomass energy plant in Europe.  “Ours is the only plant outside the developed Western world and also the only plant dealing with municipal waste,” he said.
He said his “waste-to-energy” plant, the technology of which was patented in India but erected in Malaysia was environmentally safe and met all the anti-pollution standards.  The special feature of the plant was that it had built-in pollution abatement mechanism that would effectively control the pollution and stood in conformity with stringent international emission standards.
He said that the technology for the “waste-to-energy” plant  was based on the usage of the municipal waste which was converted into clean burning fuel known as refuse derived fuel (RDF) for use in boilers for steam and power generation.  It was developed by him and patented in India.
The construction of RDF power plant, he said,  was taken up in Malaysia by a joint venture company — Core Competencies Sdn Bhd — with a capacity to handle 700 tons of municipal waste a day and generate 8 MW power. After meeting its consumption of 3 MW, the balance 5 MW was being supplied to the national grid. He now held the dual positions of director and technical advisor of Core Competencies Sdn Bhd.
He said commissioned in 2009, the Kajang waste-to-energy plant, which was located 13 miles from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, was perhaps the first of its kind to use municipal solid waste (MSW). It served the twin objectives of environmentally friendly disposal of municipal solid waste and generation of renewable power.
He said: “Everyday the municipal waste is processed and energy is generated without accumulation of the polluting waste, which is a source of public health hazard. The plant also helps freeing the urban land from being used as landfills.”
Explaining how the plant was being operated, he said: “The pre-processing of the municipal waste enables recovery of recyclable materials like metals, plastics, fiber materials, and separation of wet organic matter enabling the further digestion process to release methane-rich biogas for firing the boiler to enhance power generation, thus maximizing the extraction of energy from the waste.”
Claiming that the operating area of the plant was free from causing any kind of pollution, he said the municipal waste was brought by trucks, weighed, and placed in a pit.  The pit was designed to hold  more than day’s stock and the whole area was covered and sprayed with an enzyme to deodorize the air.  The air around the pit was constantly evacuated allowing fresh air to come in.  Mechanical cranes were being used to  mix wastes coming from different areas to get a measure of uniform composition, and bulky materials were removed before feeding the waste to the plant.  The wet organic materials separated from the wastes were also used for power generation, he added.
Sivaprasad said: “When the first oil crisis struck the world in the early seventies, the search for alternative sources of energy began all over the world.  Municipal waste was identified as a source of energy by the US government and efforts began to convert waste into a clean burning fuel.  I started working on this concept to translate  it into a working energy producing unit by setting up a pilot-scale plant in Bangalore.  On successful performance of this unit, I obtained patent for this technology.”
Asked why this technology was not used and taken advantage of in India where heaps of municipal wastes were being dumped everywhere in rural and urban areas, he said that he made an attempt.  But official apathy, red-tape and other constraints came in the way of his effort to set up a plant.  Meanwhile Malaysia  showed interest and the plant had attracted the eye of the world.
He said that he was happy that global recognition for his Indian “waste-to-energy” technology came through Malaysia.  The award was presented in a glittering ceremony held in E. Donaldson Convention  Center in Rosemont. Shivaprasad, who is the director and technical adviser and Kamarul Zaman, president of the company, received the award.
Still very active and agile at the age of 80 years, Shivaprasad, is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Guindy Engineering College of Chennai.  He worked as chief engineer of DCM group of companies and set up industrial units, including captive power plants in India, before he moved to Malaysia.  He hails from Tirunelveli in  Tamil Nadu.

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