Apartment residents set up biogas plant

By TheHindu on 17 Oct 2017 | read
    0108

Municipal corporations are struggling to dispose solid waste generated in lakhs of households and are experimenting with several models. So far only the collection of waste from the doorstep has been successful. Its disposal or effective use has remained a huge task.

With pro-active steps in their own small way, citizens can make a lot of difference contributing to green cause also in their own way. Small biogas equipment installed on the terrace of apartments can reduce the task of collecting it and transporting it all the way to the transfer station and from there to the dump yard.

Residents of Green House, all of nine apartments, at Balayya Sastry Labout, have started one such exercise recently.

A small, fiber glass “biomethane” plant with capacity to generate 1 cum gas a day has been installed on the terrace. Left over of food collected from the apartments can be directly put in it through an opening. Vegetable peals have to be soaked for half a day before being dumped in the container.The digester generates biogas and also emits manure (waste after producing the gas) from an outlet. The gas outlet is connected to a stove the watchman uses. The watchman collects the wet waste from the apartments.

Architect Y. Narasimha Rao who lives in one of the apartments obtained the plant after a visit to Vivekananda Kendra at Kanyakumari where he has gone exclusively to learn the waste disposal mechanisms there. The biomethane plant is developed by Natural Resources Development Project of the Kendra. Nearly, two years ago the residents have started separating wet and dry waste and the watchman has been asked to dispose off the dry waste. This step is intended at reducing the task of carrying the dry waste by the municipal corporation. Now in a collective action, they have come together to dispose of the wet waste on their own.

“Some precautions are to be taken while using the plant. First cattle dung has to be put into the digester to generate the microbes. Onion, eggshells and lemon remnants should not be put into the waste,” cautions Mr. Narasimha Rao. The waste should be dumped into the plant once in a day preferably in the morning so that the heat later enables microbes digest it and produce biogas by the afternoon.

The residents are used to separate waste into wet and dry right from the exhibition they had held nearly one-and-a-half years ago. “The very fact that we have a biogas plant of which we have heard before on our terrace is very exciting,” says Mayuri, an LIC employee who lives in the apartment. In the beginning there was some confusion with onion peals etc being included in the waste.

“Now after talking among ourselves we are being careful,” she says. Once the waste is separated carefully there is no problem. Children in high school and college are also quite enthusiastic about the plant working on the premises and generating gas. Instead of waste being thrown just like that it is now helping the family of watchman which gives us satisfaction, Ms. Mayuri adds.

Watchman of the apartment V. Appalaraju is given a single burner stove brought from Vivekananda Kendra. It has a bigger burner than the normal one. Initially, the flame was low. “But later it improved and now I cook rice and rasam on the stove at night,” he says. Solid waste management consultant Suresh Bhandari who helped installing the plant at Green House says it has given him an opportunity to set up the plant in a residential apartment. Now whether the 5 kg waste that can go into the 1 cum capacity plant can be generated by the families there, what is the gas generated and whether it can be sustained needed to be observed, he points out.

However, he cautions against dust, mud or bones getting into the waste as it would reduce the digestive capacity and finally might lead to its failure.

The biogas plants are custom-made. Bigger organisations like hotels or hostels may construct the plants to suit them, he suggests.



“Some precautions are to be taken while using the plant. First cattle dung has to be put into the digester to generate the microbes. Onion, eggshells and lemon remnants should not be put into the waste














Watchman of the apartment is given a single burner stove brought from Vivekananda Kendra. It has a bigger burner than the normal one. Initially, the flame was low. “But later it improved and now I cook rice and rasam on the stove at night,” he says. Solid waste management consultant Suresh Bhandari who helped installing the plant at Green House says it has given him an opportunity to set up the plant in a residential apartment.



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