If the Coimbatore Corporation’s plan goes well, the degradable, bio-waste may not end up at the Vellalore dump yard. The civic body is likely to take the waste to a bio-methanisation plant to produce methane, which it will use to fire the crematorium in Chokkampudur.

According to sources in the Coimbatore Corporation, the civic body collects about 20 tonnes of bio-degradable waste on weekdays and nearly 30 tonnes on weekends – this largely comes from wastes from markets and restaurants. By diverting the waste, the Corporation will not only be able to put to better use the bio-degradable waste but also save on fuel and maintenance. The crematorium in Chokkampudur runs on electricity. The Corporation plans to covert the same in such fashion that it runs on power and gas.

In setting up the bio-methanisation plant, the Corporation is in talks with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University’s Bio Energy Department.

S. Kamaraj, Head of the Department, says that every tonne of food waste will generate 100 cubic metre gas after it undergoes aerobic digestion process. There is no energy required for this process, though. Plus, the bio-methanisation plant will produce 60 – 70 per cent more methane compared to burning firewood. Better efficiency is an advantage but that is not the only one. There is an economic angle to using the bio-methanisation plant, as well.

Managers of gasifier crematoriums have started using gas cylinders following firewood shortage. And it takes a cylinder to burn a body.

But with 3,000 cubic metre gas, which the plant will generate by processing 30 tonnes waste, the civic body will be able to burn 20 bodies and also generate 250 kw power, Mr. Kamaraj says and adds if one were to take into account the cost of a cylinder that is not subsidised, the Corporation will be able to recover the plant cost within two years.

The Corporation can also make money by selling the waste from the bio-methanisation plant as manure.

He says that the TNAU has given the proposal to the Corporation and the engineers there are preparing the plant cost.

The Corporation sources say that the Corporation plans to set up the plant with capacity to process 10 tonnes or 20 tonnes a day depending on the cost involved. The electric crematorium at present gets eight bodies a day.

The sources add that after studying the efficiency of the plant, the Corporation may go in for a similar plant at its crematorium in Athupalam.

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