Making biogas out of garbage

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M. P. Praveen

KOCHI: While the Ernakulam district administration and the District Panchayat have been positive about adopting biogas technology as a solution to the persisting garbage menace, the Kochi Corporation has been indifferent to the idea, said A. Sajidas, Director, Biotech, a Central government-approved not-for-profit organisation.

Biotech wrote to the Corporation many times about the proposals and also held many rounds of discussions. The response has been unenthusiastic, he said.

The Corporation seems to be considering proposals by various players who have entered the field of waste management eyeing it as a lucrative business option, he said.

“This would result in the public losing faith in the technology,” he said.

He said that the local self-government bodies apart from the Corporation had been very receptive of the biogas technology.

Biotech has so far installed domestic biogas plants in more than 2,000 households across 58 panchayats in the district.

In some instances, local bodies had contributed up to Rs.4,000 over and above the Central government subsidy. The contribution, however, depends on the level of interest of the local body concerned in the project.

A solution

Mr. Sajidas is of the opinion that biogas technology would help to solve the garbage crisis faced by the city, “For there is no need for waste collection and transportation since it is treated at the source of generation itself,” he said.

He said the project was feasible too. The cost of a domestic biogas unit comes to Rs. 10,000.

Of this, Rs. 2,700 will be Central government subsidy, while the rest is shared between the local body concerned and the beneficiary.

10 models

“We have 10 different models meeting differing requirements of space availability,” Mr. Sajidas said.

Only one square metre space is required for the installation of a domestic biogas unit. Besides, a more compact portable domestic waste treatment unit, which costs Rs. 15,200, developed by Biotech had received the approval of the Central Government.

He said it was saddening to see the authorities running after mega projects despite their proven shortcomings.

Biotech had set up a biogas plant at the residence of V.R. Krishna Iyer, former Supreme Court Judge, at the instance of District Collector M. Beena. A similar plant would be installed at the camp office of the Collector shortly.

Besides, Biotech is in the final stage of drawing up a detailed project report for installing a biogas plant at district collectorate. “It would have the capacity to treat 250 kg of waste daily. The gas generated at the plant could be used as cooking fuel at the canteen or could be used to generate power to operate street lights in the locality,” he said.




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