IIT Madras-Made Solid Waste Combustor Commissioned At BHEL Factory, Tiruchi

IIT Madras-Made Solid Waste Combustor Commissioned At BHEL Factory, Tiruchi

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has developed and deployed an indigenous Municipal Solid Waste Combustor Pilot Plant at the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited Factory in Trichy District, Tamil Nadu. The plant is based on a first-of-its-kind ‘Rotary Furnace Technology’ which efficiently helps to process the unsegregated Municipal Solid Waste. The new unit is inaugurated today, May 27, 2022 by V. Kamakoti, director, IIT Madras, BHEL Trichy.

The unit has the facility to process up to one ton of unsegregated municipal solid waste (MSW) and can generate steam as the main output along with clean gaseous emissions and ash as a by-product, as per the IIT Madras statement. This IIT Madras project is a part of the Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana project funded by BHEL and the Union Ministry of Education. “It was developed by IIT Madras Researchers at National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD). This plant also plays a key enabling role in ‘Swachh Bharat Mission,” IIT Madras release reads.

Talking about the project and its inauguration, Mr Kamakoti said, “Waste Management is becoming an important issue that necessitates solutions that can scale and also help in quick and safe disposal. The first-of-its-kind Solid Waste Combustor developed by IIT Madras not only addresses the scale and safe disposal issues, but also generates heat resulting in a waste-to-wealth creation.”


According to BHEL executives, who partnered for this project, Indian Municipal Solid Waste is heterogeneous and complex with high moisture (40-50%), low calorific value (≤ 2 kcal/g) and high inerts, unlike the MSW of Western origin. Existing incineration systems do not involve energy recovery and result in toxic emissions. The IITM-designed MSW incineration system addresses most of these challenges and offers users many desirable features in its design and operation. The need of the hour is both volume reduction of wastes and value generation via energy recovery from heterogeneous MSW, as per the official statement by IIT Madras.

Elaborating on the functioning of Solid Waste Combustor, Dr R. Vinu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “The initial phase of testing with a smaller scale rotary combustion unit at the National Center for Combustion Research and Development at IIT Madras with several grades of wastes gave us huge confidence in building this improved full-scale unit with efficient emission control at BHEL Trichy. The data from this unit in BHEL will help us to systematically scale-up the process in both distributed and centralized manner.”

“BHEL would further carry out many tests and optimize operational philosophy for future scale-up and market this as a reliable and end-user-friendly product,” IIT madras added.