Sri Lanka could better harness bio-gas: Waste Management Authority

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Jul 29, 2016 (LBO) – Bio-gas can be used in Sri Lanka as a cheaper and cleaner renewable energy alternative to petroleum-based fuels, a senior official said.

“Using domestic waste management and converting it into bio gas could be a boon to the developing island’s rising demand for energy,” said Nalin Mannapperuma, director, Waste Management Authority.

“Currently thermal power takes up as much as 44 percent of energy generation costs in Sri Lanka and we are heavily dependent on petroleum, but resources are expected to run out by 2040 and we have to move towards sustainable energy in line with the national policy on renewable energy.”

Sri Lanka’s Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) has already rejected the Ceylon Electricity Board Long Term Generation Expansion Plan 2015 – 2034 and called on them to resubmit it with  electricity produced from sustainable sources.

Certain quarters in the CEB do not approve of renewable energy, protesting that this cannot be integrated into the system.

The Western Province alone produces around 60 percent of the nation’s waste, with 3,400 metric tons produced per day, according to Mannapperuma.

“As it stands, very little of this waste is managed in a sustainable manner.”

“Some of the planned large scale waste management projects have been held back as as investors have postponed them because of people complaining.”

About 86 percent of waste is dumped out in the open with only about 6 percent of this made into compost and about 4 percent of it recycled.

“This situation has to change.”

He was speaking at a workshop for up-scaling bio-gas technology for sustainable development and mitigating climate change in Sri Lanka for 65 technical officers in Colombo, Friday.

The event was sponsored by EU SWITCH-Asia, an European Union program that supports clean energy consumption and production.

Energy critics says as a country that strives for independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important that various stakeholders look into innovations for market to drive growth and development in the bio-gas and renewable energy sectors.