Mailhem-Ikos to Tap Waste to Energy Market in India
Lt. Col. Suresh Rege (Retd), , Chairman, Mailhem Engineers Private Ltd
Paul Lhotellier, President, Lhotellier Ikos Group

Mailhem Engineers, an Indian waste management and renewable energy company, and Lhotellier Ikos, a France-based 200 million euro group specialising in infrastructure and renewable energy as well as water management and treatment, have formed a joint venture - Mailhem Ikos Environment Private Limited to provide waste to energy solution for India.

With the growing concerns of energy and waste management in India, Mailhem Ikos will be able to provide centralised solutions for waste management, company officials informed in a media briefing organised in Mumbai earlier this month.

Furthermore, the solutions will enable close to 85 per cent of the waste to be reused in form of energy or recycled. Bringing together the domestic expertise of Mailhem and the technological prowess of Ikos, the JV will be able to establish large scale, up to 500 tonnes, waste management biogas plants in India.

The new JV will specialise in energy production from organic as well as household waste, turnkey biogas plant and recycling solutions including design, construction, & operations, and landfill restoration & degassing.

Speaking on the occasion, Lt Col (Retd) Suresh Rege, Founder, Mailhem Engineers Pvt Ltd, said, "We have been working with Lhotellier Ikos Group on domestic projects over the last two years, and have found a strong synergy amongst the companies in terms of vision, approach and execution. After working for over 250 biogas projects since our inception, we are seeing a growing demand of our waste to energy solutions, and joining hands with Ikos will help us cater to this this growing market."

Commenting on the potential of waste to energy solutions, Paul Lhotellier, President, Lhotellier Ikos Group, said, "Creation and execution of the waste to energy solutions are a win-win situation both economically through production of energy and environmentally through re-usage of waste. The dual advantages of these solutions truly make them an integral aspect of addressing the global issues relating to waste and energy consumption. It is an excitable time for us to be able to expand our presence into India by joining hands with Mailhem, and we are looking forward to some great work."

It's High Time We Treated Leachate
While interacting with CEW, Rege and Lhotellier spoke at lenght about the increasing dumping sites and leachate control.

Sustainable Leachate Control and Management has always been a worrisome issue in India. About 90 per cent of the solid waste is disposed of by open dumping - in landfill, and this has been identified as one of the major threats to groundwater resources. Landfill are already chocking, and as some of the recent reports suggests, the amount of garbage in cities like Delhi that currently generates about 8,500 tonnes of solid waste daily, is likely to double by 2020. One can just not dare to visualise the situation that will worsen in near future if the issue is not addressed today. Mailhem Engineers and Lhotellier Ikos Group have the technology that can address the issue, say Lt Col (Retd) Suresh Rege, Founder, Mailhem, and Paul Lhotellier, President, Lhotellier-Ikos Group.

When asked how severely leachate originating from the dumping site can contaminate the groundwater, Rege and Lhotellier replied that leachate can be defined as the percolation of liquids from waste. It is the concentration of organic matter with heavy metals as well as that of hazardous microorganisms that contaminate water and can have an impact on human health . They further added, "Apart from organic matters from the kitchen, household, waste may also contain toxic items such as batteries, paints etc. Besides, leachate is also found in numerous industrial dumping sites which contain elements of high toxicity including heavy metals such as arsenic, cyanide and pyralen. Today, advanced water treatment technologies have made it possible for us to treat leachate - whether from municipal landfill or industrial dumping sites - effectively in order to ensure that groundwater is safe for human consumption."

Mailhem Ikos use Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) process that combines biological treatment with filtration. The aerobic biological treatment lowers the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and suspended solids thus reducing the risk of clogging the filters. Depending on the characteristics of the leachate, the filtration is done either by nanofiltration or by reverse osmosis. The filtration membranes are manufactured and available in India.

Highlighting the complexity involved in the entire process, Rege and Lhotellier explained that the difficulty in treating the leachate arises due to the lack of consistency in the quality of the Leachate. A volume of waste is similar to a living organism, subject to a large number of chemical reactions.

"The quality and the quantity of the liquid (leachate) percolating vary according to the age and quality of waste and environmental conditions. To overcome this difficulty, one often plans for certain quantity of leachate to be stored in sealed pools, so that one can refine the quality of the ultimate Leachate to be treated," Lhotellier added.

Infrastructure for Leachate Treatment Facility
To treat the leachate, one first needs to collect them. "Based on the volume of waste, we lay a cover with materials of low permeability in order to limit the quantity of leachate. Then e drill pumping wells units to pump the leachate and direct them to a dedicated pond," Lhotellier revealed.

The processing unit is generally of a small size. To undertake this process successfully one requires two to three biological tanks (diameter 2.5 meters , height 4 to 6 meters) and a filtration unit that fits in a shipping container of 20 or 40 feet (depending on the flow rate required). The system is modular and movable. The cost of treatment directly depends on the contaminants present in the leachate.