Thermax Babcock & Wilcox Energy Solutions Limited, Pune

Waste to Energy - ReImagined


Shubham Sirsikar

Shubham Sirsikar

Arpit Rastogi

Arpit Rastogi

Leandra Gracias

Leandra Gracias

Vaibhav Sharma

Vaibhav Sharma

Priyam Agarwal

Priyam Agarwal


Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management


Abhishek Naresh

Abhishek Naresh

Global Goals

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

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Thermax Group is a diversified player in sustainable solutions offering a wide range of products that heat, cool, manage water and waste, and even specialize in chemicals. Beyond these, they design and build power plants, treat wastewater, recover waste heat, and tackle air pollution challenges.

Leading the boiler charge is TBWES, a Thermax subsidiary, providing steam solutions for processes and power generation. TBWES's eco-conscious portfolio shines with heat recovery systems (HRSG) from gas turbines, waste heat recovery boilers (WHRB), and waste-to-energy (WTE) boilers.

WHRBs extract heat from flue gases, while WTEs burn diverse waste – farm waste, industrial sludge, even refuse-derived fuel – as a green alternative to coal. These solutions contribute to four key UN Sustainable Development Goals and bring tangible benefits.

  1. Climate Action: Flexi-source boilers and WTEs efficiently process waste, while their integrated flue gas cleaning systems further scrub harmful pollutants, leaving a cleaner environment.
  2. Affordable Energy: WHRBs generate steam using hot flue gases (no additional combustion), and WTEs utilize waste for steam generation, minimizing or eliminating fuel costs, leading to truly affordable energy.
  3. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure: Thermax's continuous innovation in its green portfolio, with regular product upgrades to meet evolving needs, exemplifies this goal.
  4. Sustainable Cities & Communities: These solutions turn waste, which would otherwise burden landfills and waterways, into managed, safely disposed-of resources. They also reduce transportation and handling costs, which contributes to thriving, sustainable communities.

By prioritizing green solutions and aligning with UN goals, Thermax Group demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship and societal well-being.


Thermax has long been a champion of green solutions, collaborating closely with industry to develop products that meet evolving needs. Decades ago, when sustainability wasn't yet a buzzword, Thermax became a pioneer in India, introducing waste heat recovery boilers for the steel and cement industries.

Their latest brainchild, the Flexi-Source solution, is a testament to this collaboration. As coal costs escalated and waste fuels presented inconsistency challenges, an industry-wide plea arose for a boiler capable of efficiently combusting a diverse range of 10-15 fuels for both steam and power generation. While existing boilers could handle biomass fuels like rice husk or wood chips, these lacked the flexibility to tackle trickier options like agricultural waste or municipal solid waste.

The Flexi-Source rises to the challenge, offering industry unparalleled fuel flexibility. This not only eliminates coal dependence but also maximizes waste utilization. Plants can now seamlessly consume their own waste or readily available external sources, gaining control over both costs and environmental impact. This holistic approach eliminates dependence on finite resources like coal and transforms waste into a valuable energy source, contributing to cleaner air and sustainable communities.

Waste to Energy - ReImagined


In the realm of sustainability, Mr. Bhave shared that Thermax stands out as a company that is deeply committed to energy and environmental solutions with its strategies intricately woven around sustainable practices. The company, renowned for its client-centric approach, prides itself on indigenizing solutions tailored to meet industry demands rather than pursuing isolated innovations. A diverse array of sustainable solutions, including bio CNG, hydrogen, waste heat recovery systems, and electric boilers, captures the company's focus as it actively engages in discussions on emerging trends.

As the Growth Unit Head for the Waste to Energy department, Mr. Bhave was driven by a personal goal to contribute to environmental well-being and has been a proactive participant in dialogues concerning the company's future areas of emphasis. The evolving market dynamics, observed over the last five to six years, have seen a heightened consciousness towards waste reduction and a surge in initiatives like recycling plants and bio CNG facilities. Recognizing this shift, Mr. Bhave identified waste to energy and waste to wealth as pivotal sectors that resonated with his commitment to sustainability.

Overall impact

This innovative waste-to-energy solution from Thermax boasts a multifaceted impact, addressing environmental concerns, empowering businesses, and contributing to a sustainable future. Here's a breakdown of its short-term and long-term effects:


  • Environmentally Friendly Waste Disposal: Flexi-Source safely utilizes and disposes of waste around plants, eliminating harmful pollutants and reducing air pollution. This improves surrounding air quality and reduces environmental burdens from landfills and uncontrolled waste burning.
  • High Client Flexibility: Users experience increased fuel sourcing flexibility, opting for diverse green or waste fuels instead of traditional coal. This enhances their control over costs and carbon footprints.
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: Replacing coal with waste dramatically lowers CO2 emissions. A typical 4 MW plant using Flexi-Source avoids over 90,000 tons of annual CO2 compared to coal by minimizing transportation-related emissions and uncontrolled waste burning.
  • Waste Volume Reduction: The solution consumes over 75,000 tons of waste annually, cleaning surrounding areas and efficiently handling plant-generated waste. More than 95% of waste volume is reduced, leaving only minimal ash.


  • Sustainable Practices: Flexi-Source promotes sustainable solutions by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and lowering overall carbon footprint. This paves the way for a clean energy future and aligns with climate action goals.
  • Empowered Communities: Local communities benefit from improved air quality and potentially lower energy costs thanks to reduced reliance on external resources.
  • Economic Potential: By offering waste-to-energy solutions, Thermax becomes a trusted partner in the energy transition, potentially creating new business opportunities and economic growth.


  • The interviewee highlights the annual CO2 savings achieved (90,000+ tons) compared to traditional coal plants, showcasing the solution's significant environmental impact.
  • The mention of waste volume reduction exceeding 95% demonstrates the efficiency in eliminating waste from surrounding areas and within the plant itself.
  • The projected compliance with 20+ emission norms indicates a commitment to clean and responsible waste utilization.

Overall, the Flexi-Source solution offers a win-win scenario for the environment, businesses, and communities. By tackling waste concerns, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and empowering users, it paves the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future. The evidence presented, including substantial CO2 reduction and waste volume decrease, suggests a tangible and promising impact across the short and long term.

Business benefit

Fueled by innovation, an ingenious solution propelled this company's revenue upwards, multiplying sales over the past few years. In just two to three years, unit sales doubled, showcasing a potent market pull once the initial units hit the ground running. This surge confirms the market's hunger for such solutions, and their effectiveness shines through as seen in continuous improvements with each evolving version. Presently in its second iteration, data-driven tweaks promise a third iteration within a year or two keeping the solution at the forefront of innovation.

The appeal transcends borders with significant export potential across Southeast Asia. This surge in green solutions marks a strategic pivot for the company shifting from a 60-70% dependence on fossil fuels in their traditional boiler business to a focus on sustainable alternatives. Waste-to-energy technology spearheads this green shift and is actively promoted domestically and internationally.

Social and environmental benefit

Thermax's innovative Flexi-Source solution tackles two major environmental challenges simultaneously: air pollution from agricultural waste burning and CO2 emissions from landfill-bound industrial waste. Here's how it works:

Combating Air Pollution:

  • Double Firing Dilemma: In Northern India, rice straw burning by farmers (double firing) pollutes the air, impacting Delhi and surrounding areas. This worsens the Air Quality Index (AQI).
  • Flexi-Source to the Rescue: This solution allows the use of rice straw as fuel, which provides farmers with an income incentive and eliminates the need to burn it.
  • Controlled Combustion: Straw and other biomass fuels are combusted efficiently in a controlled environment to minimize emissions.
  • Clean Air Downstream: An integrated gas cleaning system further reduces emissions to make the process environmentally friendly.

From Waste to Energy:

  • Industrial Waste Woes: Scheduled non-hazardous industrial waste like plastic and sludge often ends up in landfills or incinerators, releasing CO2 during transportation and disposal.
  • Waste as Fuel: Flexi-Source harnesses this waste as fuel, generating electricity, steam, or heat to meet local demands.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: This aligns with the principles of reducing waste, reusing resources, and recycling materials for sustainable energy production.

Benefits and Impact:

  • Improved Air Quality: By diverting waste from landfills and addressing agricultural waste burning, Flexi-Source contributes to cleaner air and improved AQI.
  • Reduced CO2 Emissions: Efficient waste-to-energy conversion minimizes greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional waste management methods.
  • Empowered Communities: Farmers earn income by selling their waste, and local communities benefit from improved air quality and potentially lower energy costs.
  • Sustainable Solutions: Flexi-Source positions Thermax as a trusted partner in the energy transition towards a more sustainable future.

Overall, Thermax Flexi-Source offers a win-win scenario for the environment, businesses, and communities. By turning waste into valuable resources, it paves the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future.


Abhishek Bhave, Growth Unit Head - Waste to Energy

Photo of interviewee

Business information

Thermax Babcock & Wilcox Energy Solutions Limited, Pune

Thermax Babcock & Wilcox Energy Solutions Limited, Pune

Pune, Telangana, IN
Year Founded: 1980
Number of Employees: 501 to 1000

Thermax, headquartered in Pune, India, is a powerhouse in the sustainable solutions market and has a global reach. Their 8,090 crore Indian rupee (over USD 1B) presence boasts 29 international offices and 14 manufacturing facilities and supports customers in 88 countries.

What they do:

  • Products: Heating, cooling, water and waste management solutions, specialty chemicals.
  • Services: Designing, building, and commissioning large boilers, power plants, wastewater treatment plants, waste heat recovery systems, and air pollution control projects.

The impact:

  • For industry: Improve resource productivity, enhance profitability, and achieve cleaner operations.
  • For society: Protect the environment and contribute to a healthier planet.

Key strengths:

  • Global reach: Extensive network across Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
  • Expertise: 7 domestic and 21 overseas subsidiaries providing specialized solutions.

Thermax offers a win-win proposition for industry and society by converting costs into profits while safeguarding the environment. They are a leading force in shaping a more sustainable future for all.