Three bio-gas plants to be set up at Mattuthavani, Melur and Tirumangalam

The country’s premier nuclear energy establishment Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has drawn big plans for Madurai which when implemented would convert the city’s bio-waste into electricity.

Besides setting up of three bio-methanation plants in and around the city to recycle the garbage, it is also in the process of spearheading technology transfer to Madurai farmers through introduction of pest resistant crop varieties, tissue culture, soil testing kits and solar driers.

The district administration has given a letter of Expression of Interest to BARC for setting up these facilities at a meeting held here on Friday.

Since solid waste management has become a major challenge for civic bodies, the setting up of biomethanation plants with advanced features are being seen as a one stop solution to the garbage menace and to put the biodegradable waste to productive use.

J. Daniel Chellappa, Senior Scientist in the BARC’s Technical Coordination Wing at Chennai who held a meeting with senior district officials in this regard told The Hindu on Sunday that a detailed project report will be prepared soon by incorporating specific inputs pertaining to the actual requirements of the people here.

The technical knowhow and other support are being extended through the specially designed Advanced Knowledge and Rural Technology Implementation Initiative (AKRUTI) of BARC.

A three-tonne capacity biogas plant will come up at the flower market in Mattuthavani, two metric tonne capacity plant in Tirumangalam municipality and one-tonne plant in Melur.

Biodegradable waste from flower market, wholesale vegetable/fruit market, hotels and restaurants, marriage halls, college hostels, office canteens, prisons, slaughter houses and other places will be brought to the plant.

Pilot project soon

“We have been holding talks with the Madurai district administration since February. In April, we had identified the places and the pilot project is likely to take off in a couple of months,” Mr.Chellappa said.

Apart from solid waste management, BARC has also come forward to introduce pest resistant varieties of cereals, pulses, groundnuts and oilseeds.

He said that the district administration had identified 15 problems faced by farmers in the district and technical assistance was sought.

“Increasing of crop yield, storage and reducing pest infestation are some of the priorities. BARC will be doing hand-holding for a year and also trouble-shooting. The aim is to create more progressive farmers in Madurai district,” he added.

A tissue culture facility for banana and sugarcane cultivation is also on the anvil besides technology transfer for low cost domestic membrane-based water purifiers, soil testing kits and solar foldable driers. Members of women self-help groups would be given orientation.

The district authorities have asked BARC scientists to prepare a project report and also advice on sustainability of the initiatives that have been taken up. When the report is ready, the officials here are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding.

“Our biogas plant model is totally different from the conventional one. It takes only 19 days to convert bio-waste in to energy and organic manure. Methane will be of 85 per cent,” Mr. Chellappa has said.

G. K. Arun Sundar Thayalan, Additional Collector, led the official team on behalf of the Madurai district administration during the last week meetings.

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