Innovation Name:

Microwave Pyrolysis for Waste to Energy Conversion


Innovate for Businesses

Stage of Innovation:

We have already implemented idea


Venkata Kaushik Gattupalli, AP Sri Jayasurya


IIT Madras




India generates close to 13 million tons of waste per year. With a growing population, this number is set to drastically increase. A large proportion of this waste is non-biodegradable and there aren't many techniques to dispose of these non-biodegradable wastes. They are being disposed of by incineration or landfill. Incineration can lead to a lot of pollution and landfill is constrained by the amount of land available. By 2050, India might need a landfill of the size of the entire Delhi city.


Pyrolysis is an age-old technique of thermal decomposition at elevated temperatures in the absence of air. Microwave pyrolysis is a new age technology that uses microwaves to decompose materials. It's faster and more energy efficient technique in comparison to the basic pyrolysis. By changing the process conditions, we can alter the product composition to suit business needs. It provides us with a wide range of flexibility. Our solution, Microwave Pyrolysis, converts all wastes (except metals) into usable energy forms including oil, gas, and char that have multiple uses and can be incorporated into already existing supply chain networks of existing products. With this technology, we are addressing two problems: 1) Waste disposal 2) Bio-fuel generation Microwave heating offers many advantages over conventional pyrolysis such as non-contact heating, energy transfer rather than heat transfer, higher heating rate, material selective heating, volumetric heating, quick start and stop, heating from the interior of the material body, a higher level of safety and automation. Microwave energy is efficient in the selective heating of materials as no energy is wasted in the bulk heating of feedstocks, which is a clear advantage over conventional pyrolysis.


Microwave pyrolysis converts waste into three products: bio-oil, char and gas. Each of them has its own benefits.
1) BIO-OIL: It can be used as an additive in petroleum plants. After pyrolysis, the oil is processed to purify it and then it can also be used a bio-fuel. This is our major source of revenue.
2) GAS: It can be used with a turbine to generate electricity. Most of this gas is used to run the plant itself.
3) CHAR: The leftover char is a good fertilizer. It is also an extremely useful material for manufacturing various chemical products.
To build such a plant, we'll need to install multiple small plant units in every city, each being profitable on its own. Each plant will also generate employment opportunities as we'll need unskilled labor to run the basic operations. Each unit has a payback period of 15 months and 3-year NPV of INR90 Lakh and IRR of 65 percent. Each unit will require a capital expenditure of INR90 lakh and operational expenditure of INR5 lakh/month. Other than just making profits and generating employment, this technology also solves the huge problem of waste disposal.