Waste-to-energy machines arrive in Birgunj

Kathmandu, August 20

With the arrival of waste-to-power equipment at Nepal-India customs office in Birgunj yesterday, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has intensified preparation to generate power from the machines by mid-September.

Though KMC had said it would generate power by mid-August, the date was pushed a month later as the machines were transported at a snail’s pace from Pune of Maharastra, India. Gyanendra Karki, spokesperson at KMC, said either the prime minister or a minister will inaugurate power generation by mid-September.

“The waste-to-energy machines will arrive within a few days and power will be generated from Teku,” he told The Himalayan Times, “Then, without further delay we will jump into action and power generation from garbage will begin for the first time in Nepal.”

He expressed worries over the bad condition of roads and narrow turnings that could create problems in bringing the equipment to Valley. According to KMC, no further process is required and power generation can be started as soon as the machines arrive.

“We will install the machines at the earliest so that power generation can begin pronto,” added spokesperson Karki. Three waste-to-energy equipment are on their way to Nepal in separate heavy trucks that left Pune, India on July 26.

Earlier, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City had decided to import waste- to-energy equipment with the aim of generating 14 kilowatts of electricity from daily waste collected in the Kathmandu Valley.

According to KMC, the three trucks reached Birgunj yesterday as they were moving only at night due to busy traffic during the day time. Rabin Man Shrestha, chief of the environment section at KMC and director of Sustainable Solid Waste Management Project, said it could take a few more days for the trucks to enter Kathmandu.

“It is likely to take few more days for the equipment to arrive in the capital as the trucks are being driven at low speed and only during the night. Road obstructions due to floods and landslides and customs hassles have also been delaying the trucks,” Shrestha said.

The system will be able to hold three tonnes of garbage for 21 days in the preliminary stage. After the preliminary stage, the system will consume three tonnes of solid waste per day, producing 14 kilowatts of electricity.

KMC’s initiative is part of a one-year pilot project supported by the European Union. KMC has already allocated space on its office premises where the three waste-to-energy equipment will be installed. According to the metropolitan city office, the three machines cost Rs 18,200,000.

“We have set everything here to generate electricity from waste,” chief of the environment division of KMC Shrestha said, adding, “The electricity generated from the plants would be used by the KMC office.”

Besides, KMC is planning to replicate the project in other municipalities if the one-year pilot project succeeds. According Spokesperson Karki, other municipalities have also expressed their interest in the project.

KMC hopes that the waste-to-energy project would make waste management in the Kathmandu Valley easier. It said the project was just a preliminary effort to produce electricity from waste. Besides generating power, KMC also plans to produce 96 kg of gas, 300 kg of bio-organic fertiliser, and 13,500 litres of purified water daily from the garbage collected at Teku transfer station.