Sustainable waste management through waste to energy technologies in India-opportunities and environmental impacts

J. Charles Rajesh Kumar, B. Mary Arunsi, R. Jenova, M. A. Majid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The advancement in waste to energy (WTE) technologies in India economically provides an optimal solution for the restoration of power and heat and helps in fighting the rising energy demand. These technologies decrease waste volumes, environmental influence, threats to public health and dependence on fossil fuels for power production. As of 2018, more than 62 million metric ton (MTs) of waste is produced yearly in India and the same is expected to increase to 165 million MTs by 2031 and 436 million MTs by 2050 respectively. The land required for the dumping of the 62 million MTs of untreated waste is around 1,240 hectares per year, and the requirement is expected to expand to 66,000 hectares of landfill per year for the projected wastes in the years to come and besides the country also requires a task force to treat these wastes by utilizing proper technologies. India has an estimated potential of WTE of about 2.554 GW from municipal solid waste (MSW) and about 1.683 GW from urban and industrial wastes. The existing WTE plants are an attractive technological alternative for managing wastes, but the pollution caused by these plants is a serious concern and pose a threat to the environment. The current policies, programs, and management structure do not sufficiently address the immediate hurdles of managing the projected waste due to a shortage of logistics and significant planning, inadequate funding, unsuitable technical attentiveness, and inappropriate resource management. The primary intent of this manuscript is to show the potential of the WTE in the country, including the possible technologies, job, and business opportunities and lastly the environmental influence. Also, the policies that need to be improved, evolved or modified to encourage WTE industry are suggested along with a few recommendations for the course of action in the WTE sector that can support the investors, WTE project developers, suppliers, decision makers and the policymakers for further better management and planning.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-342
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Renewable Energy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-10
Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge the support provided by Government Primary Health Centre, Mulanur (Dharapuram, Tirupur, Tamil Nadu)-India, Chinmaya Mission Hospital (CMH), Bengaluru-India, the Research Consultancy Institute (RCI) of Effat University-Saudi Arabia, and the KACST Technology Innovation Centre for Solid State Lighting at KAUST-Saudi Arabia. Debt and equity funding.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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