Municipal Solid Waste Management: A Review of Waste to Energy (WtE) Approaches

Chhotu Ram, Amit Kumar, Pushpa Rani


Global municipal solid waste (MSW) generation will increase to 2.2 billion tons per year by 2025 as per the World Bank projection. Improper waste management often leads to environmental degradation (i.e. water, air and soil pollution), transmission of diseases, and the release of greenhouse gases emissions, which contributes to climate change. To combat these problems, several countries are following the waste to energy (WtE) approach, which significantly reduces the volume of waste and generates renewable energy. Thus, the present study focuses on the municipal solid waste generation, composition, and waste to energy conversion technologies. Thermal conversion processes including incineration, pyrolysis, and gasification for heat, bio-oil, and syngas generation are already well established and are being employed in several countries. Currently, researchers are trying to improve the efficiency of biochemical methods such as anaerobic digestion, microbial fermentation, and microbial fuel cells for biogas, biohydrogen, and bioelectricity generation from MSW. This review explains the recent focus on microbial fermentation and microbial fuel cells for biofuels and bioelectricity production. Development of these technologies can lead to suitable eco-friendly approaches for the future. WtE technologies are important components of circular economy that will assist to achieve the demand of clean energy in future.


Municipal solid waste; Waste to energy; Biochemical conversion; Anaerobic digestion; Thermal conversion

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