Awaits TANGEDCO approval to supply electricity

The bio-methanation plant at Koyambedu, which remained dysfunctional for over two years, is all set to generate power from vegetable and fruit waste collected from the wholesale market.

The plant, which is operating for the past two months, is awaiting Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation's (TANGEDCO) approval to supply electricity to the grid. The facility is currently being operated by Hyderabad-based Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, which has bagged the contract for solid waste management in the market.

According to sources at Koyambedu Market Management Committee (MMC), the Rs.5.50 crore facility, set by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, was inaugurated in 2006 and was operated by the MMC till 2008. It was put to disuse owing to machine repair.

R.Ravishankar, project head of Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, said the plant has the capacity to convert 30 tonnes of waste per day into 2,500 units daily.

Of the nearly 150 tonnes of vegetable and fruit waste generated daily at the market, about 30 tonnes are segregated and those with seeds are avoided to prevent damage to the equipment.

The shredded waste is fed into a digester where the particles develop into gas. The gas comprises methane, carbon dioxide and traces of hydrogen sulphide. Another equipment is being installed to reduce the hydrogen sulphide, which is not necessary for power generation.

The gas is then transferred to another massive structure with a storage capacity of 550 cubic metre from where it is connected to an engine for production of electrical energy. In case of engine repair, a provision has been made to flare up the gas without causing environmental pollution, Mr.Ravishankar said.

The company has invested Rs.1 crore to revamp the facility. The selling price of the electricity produced would be Rs.5 per unit. This would be sufficient to cover the operational cost, he added.

Sources at MMC said that though 1.75 acre has been allotted for composting 50 tonnes of waste, it could not be done owing to court cases. There are also plants to recycle banana stems.

A team from Tamil Nadu Electrical Inspectorate is set to visit the facility in a few days to certify the electrical safety of the plant.