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Explained: What is refuse-derived fuel RDF?

Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) is a type of fuel produced from various types of waste, including municipal solid waste, industrial

By Ground Report
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Explained: What is refuse-derived fuel RDF?

CSIR-National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram conducted an on-site inspection and recommended that separated waste-derived fuel (WDR) from the fire-affected areas at the Brahmapuram landfill be immediately transferred off-site due to the risk of fire hazards.

According to their report on the amount of burned and unburned waste at the site after a large fire on March 2, the separated RDF should be baled and removed from the yard to avoid fire hazards.

The RDF is currently stacked elsewhere within the yard, posing a potential fire hazard. RDF should not remain on site until the waste-to-energy plant is operational.

What is refuse-derived fuel?

Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) is a type of fuel produced from various types of waste, including municipal solid waste, industrial waste, and commercial waste.

The process involves sorting and separating the waste, removing any non-combustible materials, and processing the remaining combustible materials into a fuel that can be used for energy production.

The resulting CDR typically has a higher calorific value than the original waste and can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in industrial boilers or waste-to-energy plants.

RDF: India's sustainable waste solution

In India, RDF has gained attention as a potential renewable energy source due to its cost-effective and environmentally friendly nature.

India, being the second most populous country in the world, is also one of the largest producers of MSW. The rapid urbanization and industrialization of the country has led to an exponential increase in the generation of MSW. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates around 62 million tons of MSW per year, of which only 43 million tons are collected and only 11.9 million tons are treated.

The conventional MSW management method in India is landfilling, which not only causes environmental pollution but also leads to loss of valuable resources. However, RDF offers an alternative solution to this problem by providing a sustainable and ecological method of waste management.

The CDR production process involves separating the combustible components of MSW, such as plastics, paper, and other organic materials, from the non-combustible components, such as glass and metals. The combustible components are then crushed, dried and compacted into pellets, which can be used as a fuel source in various applications.

Is this a landfill alternative?

Improper dumping of waste in low-lying areas causes environmental hazards such as methane emissions, water pollution, and soil degradation. However, the use of RDF as a renewable energy source provides a green and sustainable alternative to traditional landfill methods.

Converting from MSW to RDF promotes scientific waste management practices and reduces reliance on fossil fuels. The RDF production process involves basic processing to increase the calorific value of combustible waste materials, making them a valuable source of energy.

Every day, urban areas in Asia produce about 760,000 tons of urban solid waste (MSW), which is equivalent to about 2.7 million cubic meters. It is projected that by 2025, these figures will increase to approximately 1.8 million tons per day, or 5.2 million cubic meters per day. However, these estimates may be an underestimate and the actual numbers could be much higher.

The use of RDF offers numerous advantages, such as increased energy efficiency, simplified transportation, and better fuel quality, among others. As a result, interest in this innovative technique is growing around the world and many nations are adopting it. Technological advances have made RDF plants safer, ensuring that their emissions do not have adverse effects on human health.

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