Bowenpally vegetable market generates own green power

CSIR-IICT chief scientist Gangagni Rao inspecting Biogas plant at Bowenpally market in Secunderabad.   | Photo Credit: G. RAMAKRISHNA

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and subsequent unlock, the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Vegetable Market Yard in Bowenpally has been a hive of activity. It was not just about arrival of a variety of vegetables from near and far; a new waste-to-power plant was being tried out.

The CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) has designed and patented the high rate biomethanation technology based Anaerobic Gas lift Reactor (AGR), for generation of methane-rich biogas and nutrient-rich biomanure was undergoing trials and is now ready for launch.

Construction of the ₹3-crore ten-tonne capacity reactor was completed last year and the trial run in the last six months saw fruit and vegetable waste loads being gradually increased to full capacity to generate power. Up to 800-1,000 units of power can be generated daily by converting ten tonnes of organic waste. The market committee hopes to generate the power it needs for lighting and other purposes through the plant courtesy off-grid supply.

“We have already begun to notice the benefits with the power bill coming down to ₹1 lakh from ₹3.5 lakh a month earlier,” says market secretary L. Srinivas. Since the vegetable market is able to generate 3-4 tonnes a day, the remaining waste is being sourced from other bazaars and supermarkets to make up for the load to ensure the plant runs to its full capacity. The majority of the project was funded by the Centre’s Department of Biotechnology (₹2 crore) and Government’s Agriculture Marketing Department (₹1 crore).

“There are about 20 plants working in various parts of the country and ten more are under construction, including in Delhi and other places, with capacities ranging from 250kg to ten tonnes a day of food waste, organic fraction of municipal solid waste market and vegetable waste etc.,” explains CSIR-IICT chief scientist A. Gangagni Rao.

Within the city, such plants are under construction in vegetable markets of Alwal, Erragadda and Saroornagar – each of 500kg capacity while 5-tonne capacity plants are being built for Gaddiannaram and Gudimalkapur markets. Biogas emanating from the plants is also being used to replace LPG cylinders in canteens. The project was initiated as a tripartite agreement between DBT, Telangana Agriculture Department with CSIR-IICT providing technology support. Biomanure generated through the plant can be sold as organic fertilizer too.

IICT’s first commercial foray into this technology, inspired by a few modern versions in Europe, was a pilot using 200kg poultry litter to generate 89kWh power and then for Akshay Patra Foundation in Bellary (Karnataka) and Ahmedabad in 2015 of 1.5 tonnes capacities.

In the past five years, Dr. Rao and his team has worked on improving the efficiency of the compactor and right sizing the machinery to ensure less space is used. “Waste is a misplaced resource and an unrecognised wealth. Through this technology, we can save dumpyards in cities from piling up, provide green power and generate employment, besides preventing pollution,” he adds.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 10:52:15 AM |

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