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2 waste-to-energy power plants in Dhaka on the cards

  • Published at 11:23 pm September 24th, 2020
2 waste-to-energy power plants in Dhaka on the cards
Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The first ever project to generate power from waste in the country

The government has initiated the installation of two waste-to-energy power plants in Dhaka using daily waste produced, aiming at making it a habitable and a clean city.

One of the plants will be set up at the Aminbazar landfill and the other at Matuail.

This is the first ever project in the country which will generate power from waste.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on September 16, approved a proposal of a private bidder to set up a waste-based plant on build-own-operate (BOO) basis in Narayanganj.

The private bidder—a joint venture of Consortium of UD Environmental Equipment Technology Co Ltd, Everbright Environmental Protection Technology  Equipment (Changzhou) Limited and SABS Syndicate—will set up the 6MW power plant at Jalkuri area in Narayanganj.

The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will purchase electricity produced from the plant at US20.91 cents per kilowatt hour (each unit) which is equivalent to Tk17.60 for a period of 20 years.    

For this, the BPDB will have to pay Tk1,665.48 crore to the private sponsor of the plant for this total purchase of electricity.  

The Local Government Division (LGD) will supervise the projects with technical support from the Power Division.

Government will not get any share of the profit 

According to the plan, both Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) will fix two separate plots, develop necessary infrastructures for establishing the plants, and also provide waste as per requirement. 

The Power Division will buy the electricity in order to supply it into the national grid.  

The DSCC has already fixed a large plot beside the Matuail Landfill which is now preparing for development and similarly, DNCC also fixed a land beside Aminbazar landfill. 

Each plant respectively will require 3,000 tons of waste to generate at-least 35MW electricity.

The city corporations will provide land and waste, officials concerned said. However, the government will not get any percentage of the profit amount.

Generally in many countries, the governments bear the initial cost of per ton of waste worth $20-25, which is not applicable for Bangladesh as per plan, according to the officials. 

However, the city corporations will receive rent for the plots from the power producers.  

The burden of waste

Speaking with Dhaka Tribune, Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives (LGRD) Minister Md Tajul Islam said: “As waste is a big burden, we have decided to transform it into electricity.

“We will install two power plants, however, the Aminbazar waste to power plant will start operation first and then the Matuail power plant,” he said. 

“We want to install such power plants in all cities gradually, where the daily deposit of waste is more than 3,000 tons,” he added.

Land acquired for projects

The DNCC has already acquired 80 acres of land beside the Aminbazar Landfill at the cost of Tk786 crore. Now the corporation is developing the site for building the structure for the plant. 

Similarly, the DSCC has just completed acquiring land in Matuail. The corporation is expecting to get charge of the land soon from the deputy commissioner (DC) of Dhaka, and then they will develop the plot the total cost of the development is estimated to be Tk1,544 crore.

Chinese company to produce power for DNCC

The two city corporations received 43 proposals from companies interested in the two projects.

On April 2, DNCC shortlisted and sent four proposals out of the total 17, to the Local Government Division (LGD) for further procedure. Later a committee under the supervision of the Power Division selected one Chinese firm to run the waste-to-energy power plant.

On July 26, DSCC sent six proposals to the LGD for approval. The companies shortlisted were two Korean companies, one Chinese, one Singaporean, one Canadian, and one US organization. 

The ministerial committee under the Power Division will select one proposal for the DSCC power plant, according to the concerned officials of DSCC.

How environment friendly will the plants be?

According to the officials, electricity will be generated following a combustion technology that will turn the waste into electricity through incinerating or burning the waste.  

Some Asian countries like Thailand, South Korea, and China are generating power from waste using the combustion technology. However, the US, Canada and the majority of European countries are now using gasification technology, which is comparatively environment friendly.  

Dr Kazi Bayzid Kabir, associate professor of chemical engineering department at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), said: “Waste is currently polluting the environment with disposing methane. On the other hand, power plants also have some environmentally concerning issues as it also releases toxic gas. But it is possible to generate electricity from waste without harming the environment.”   

Gasification better than combustion

“We are yet to know what kind of technologies are being used in the plants. For example, gasification is better than combustion, but it is also expensive so far,” he added. 

However, the LGRD minister said the power plant in the city will not affect the environment in Dhaka. We are building it to manage our waste as a part of preventing pollution.” 

“Following the initiatives we could easily keep up clean our cities,” he added. 

How the project came to be

The LGD formed a working group with representatives from LGD, Bangladesh for creating a guideline for a waste to power project on June 12 last year. The additional secretary (development) of LGD was head of the group. 

There were six officials as members of the group - the chairman of the Bangladesh Power Development Board, member of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), CEOs of DSCC and DNCC, a joint secretary from Power Division, and a member from Department of Environment. The working group submitted a report with a guideline on July 11.

According to the report, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the authorities concerned to plan a waste-to-power plant project in 2015 during an Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting. 

Then the Power Division took some initiatives which were effective. After that, LGRD Minister Tajul Islam held a meeting on April 25 last year to gear up the initiative again.

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