Carbon credits potential of solid waste management industry

Posted on March 8, 2011 by

Solid waste management practices release high quantities of green house gases in the atmosphere. This sector therefore creates significant opportunities for carbon mitigation, which could eventually become tradable carbon credits. Following procedures can be used to reduce/avoid GHG emissions from the waste materials.

1)     Avoidance and utilization of methane from the landfill side: Methane (CH4) constitutes approximately 50% of landfill gases, with the remaining 50% being CO2 mixed with small quantities of other gases. If these gases are not collected, would escape to the atmosphere causes global warming. Mitigation/abatement option is available to capture and utilize the methane for energy generation.

2)     Energy generation through the process of pyrolysis using waste as a raw material: Pyrolysis is a thermo chemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen. It creates combustible gases for further use by using organic waste.

3)     Energy efficiency/ saving through recycling of the waste material: It is always useful to recycle the waste material. Recycling process consume about half of the energy to produce same quantity of products which would have been otherwise made from the virgin material. As per the Energy Information Administration (EIA) website, a paper mill uses 40% less energy to make paper from recycled material than it does to make paper from fresh lumber.

Another example of plastic good manufacturing industry, Virgin plastic resin costs 40-50 % less than recycled resin. Plastic recycling process includes recovering scrap material or waste plastics and reprocessing the material into useful products. (CDM-EB recently introduced methodology for plastic recycle industry – AMS-III.AJ- ‘Recovery and recycling of materials from solid wastes – Version 2.0’)

Carbon Credits potential of waste management sector

Carbon credits is the tradable commodity is equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide reduced or sink from the atmosphere. There are six green house gasses and any of these gases if reduced/avoid/sink from the atmosphere, carbon credits can be earned.  These gases are Carbon dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Perfluoro carbons, Hydrofluoro carbon and Sulphur hexafluoride. International treaty like CDM under the kyoto protocol along with VCS provides a robust platform to develop GHG emission reduction projects which will further earn carbon credits (Emission reductions).

Example of Carbon Credits Projects by the waste management industry –India

  • Total 10 registered projects :  8,89,358 CERs /Annum ( Corresponding to 50 Crores INR revenue potential)
  • Presently 32 CDM projects under validation stage seeking for registration. These projects can generate more than 1 crore CER’s/Annum (Corresponding to a revenue potential of around 600 Crores INR)

The registered projects are based on simple technologies  such Open windrow aerobic composting, Microbial composting and Bio-methanization. Projects like “The TIMARPUR-OKHLA Waste Management Company Pvt Ltd’s (TOWMCL) integrated waste to energy project in Delhi” has incorporated innovative methods for the MSW processing which is based on DST-TIFAC technology to produce Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for combustion in boiler (75 TPH of capacity). This project also involve Bio-methanization which further utilized in Power generation (16 MW) using RDF and biogas (recovered methane) in the boiler.

India produces around 42 Million tons of solid waste annually. This number itself shows the  carbon mitigation potential of the waste management industry. (Waste management scenario in India)


Know more about Carbon project execution and management for the waste management industry

Posted in: Carbon Markets