India generates about 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste annually. Of the 43 million tonnes collected, only 11.9 million is treated while 31 million is dumped in landfill sites.

No wonder then, that the country is facing such a huge waste management problem.

Trying to meet the challenge head on is Chennai-based Kankyo Cleantech, a one stop-shop for waste management — be it solid, liquid, or gaseous.

They also handle hazardous waste. Founded in 2015, Kankyo has developed a variety of innovative sustainable technologies that require lower capital and operating expenditures compared with other technologies in the market.

“We have an array of indigenous technologies and Japanese technologies to meet our customer needs,” says P Dev Anand, Founder & CEO of Kankyo. “Our mission is to make the world cleaner and more sustainable by creating valuable energy and resources from local, renewable waste.”

The company is a leader in in solid waste management, water treatment, waste water treatment, recycling and bioremediation.

“Japan has strict environmental regulations and all technologies are designed to meet these standards by default,” says Anand.

“We work with many research partners in Japan to bring the latest technology in the energy and environment space.” One of the main indigenous technologies in use is Plasma Gasification. Through this, solid waste is thermally destructed and converted into synthetic gas or syngas and slag without segregating the waste. “In India, there are solutions available after sorting the garbage, but this technology can handle the mixed waste,” explains the CEO. Both hazardous and non-hazardous waste can convert into energy.

The technology

And how does it work? The Plasma Gasification system exposes ‘feedstocks’ such as municipal solid waste, industrial waste or biomass to temperatures over 5000°C in the presence of steam assisted plasma plume. The feedstock is thermally broken to produce a synthesis gas (syngas) and slag. Syngas, composed primarily of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, can be used for industrial purposes as a substitute for natural gas.

The system uses plasma torch technology, where a plasma stream is created by the interaction between air and an electric arc created between two electrodes. The interaction of the gas with the electric arc dissociates the gas into electrons and ions enabling the gas to become electrically and thermally conductive.

Feedstock materials enter the gasifier through a feed port, which can be located on the side of the reactor or at the top. The feedstock either gasifies immediately upon entering the reactor or falls on to the coke bed where complete gasification occurs.

Non-gaseous, inorganic components in the gasified feedstock, such as rocks, dirt and other impurities, separate and leave through the bottom of the gasifier as a glass-like slag. This is environmentally benign and can be used as an aggregate to the construction industry.

A small plant will cost around ₹60 lakh and can go up to ₹30 crore. The cost varies according to the size and nature of waste. Kankyo’s technology caters to the needs of big industries to townships and munici palities. Kankyo is gaining momentum in this sector. “Initially, it was difficult to gain the attention of people, but for the past one year everybody is accepting the technology,” says Dev gleefully.

Kankyo is now providing solutions to the entire value chain of waste management sector and that makes it unique. The kind of technologies they are using are far more advanced and economical. “It’s a $20-billion market in India alone for our segments. Other than India, we have spread our wings to South East Asia, Middle East, Africa and South America,” says Balaji Gurusamy, Chief Marketing Officer, Kankyo.