Apartments’ welfare associations urged to set up biogas plants on premises

Experts want apartments’ welfare associations to try out an eco-friendly manner of managing garbage by setting up biogas plants on the premises.

‘Ideal places’

“Apartments are ideal places to set up biogas plants as they will have a network in the form of residents’ association besides a common space to set up these plants,” observes University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda.

This will not only help take care of garbage disposal to a large extent, but also get them returns in the form of either biogas/electricity or manure, says Mr. Gowda.

Advice available

The university has constituted a team of experts from the microbiology stream to help interested associations with technical advice on setting up biogas plants. “We want to share the university’s expertise with interested residents’ associations or any such groups as the main intention of any research work taken up by us is to help society,” Dr. Gowda notes.

The university is also thinking of holding a meeting of councillors from areas around its campus to create awareness among them on scientific methods of handling garbage through biogas plants, he said.

‘Make it mandatory’

Faculty member V. Kumargouda, who is also Project Adviser, Regional Biogas Development and Training Centre, set up at the university by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, says the government should make it mandatory for apartments in Bangalore to set up biogas plants on the premises.

According to him, housing complexes and apartments with 50 to 100 units can also set up a viable biogas plant that can generate biogas/electricity. The only problem is that most of the small apartments do not have space to accommodate a biogas plant. It will be better if steps are taken to provide space for such plants at the time of construction itself, Mr. Kumargouda suggests.

The cost

It will cost anywhere between Rs. 1.25 lakh and Rs. 15 lakh to set up such plants in apartments depending on the total number of units in the building and the garbage generated, he says.

The compost that comes after biogas production or power generation can either be used by the apartments themselves or sold. The experts feel that authorities, especially electricity authorities, must impose a clause that hotels and marriage halls should mandatorily take up waste-to-gas or energy programmes.

As it requires specialised skills to set up a biogas unit, the UAS-B has been offering training to masons as well as construction supervisors on setting up biogas plants.

The university has so far trained about 1,200 masons. Training involves a 10-day practical work session where the masons are supposed to build a minimum of five plants.

Similarly, construction supervisors’ course involves a 15-day training session comprising a 10-day practical session and five-day theory classes.

‘Give incentives’

Meanwhile, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI) Energy Committee Chairman M.G. Prabhakar has suggested that Escoms encourage those generating electricity at biogas plants by providing incentives.

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