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Railways gets its first waste-to-energy plant

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The East Coast Railway has commissioned the government’s first waste-to-energy plant which will turn e-waste and plastic into light diesel oil in 24 hours. A patented technology called ‘Polycrack’ will be used, which converts multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.

Pre-segregation of waste is not required to reform the waste, which can be directly fed into the machine to be converted into diesel. The machine has a high tolerance to moisture, hence drying of waste is not required. Since it is an enclosed unit, the working environment is dust free. Biological decomposition is not allowed as the waste is treated as it is received.

The footprint of the plant is small, hence the area required for installing it is less when compared with conventional method of processing. All constituents are converted into valuable energy thereby making it a zero discharge process.

Gas generated in the process is re-used to provide energy to the system thereby making it self-reliant for energy. No atmospheric emissions are released during the process. The plant operates at around 450 degrees, making it a low temperature process as compared to other options.

The waste-to-energy plant was constructed in three months at a cost of around INR two crore. Waste generated from Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop, Coaching Depot and Bhubaneswar Railway Station will be feeder material for this plant. This plant will access 500kg waste materials per batch, and an estimated income from the byproducts generated will be around INR17.5 lakh per annum, while the annual maintenance cost per year will be INR10.4 lakh

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