Friday, April 26, 2019

Biogas Plant in Balcony, Indian Man Slashes LPG Bill by Half! and More!

Recently we wrote a report about the state of anaerobic digestion plant and biogas development in India. We noted that at national government level there was very little indication of any top-level awareness of the great potential for the betterment in India, available from biogas technology.

We said that this was disappointing because once India led in biogas. The was a growing number of small rural biogas plants and its production was having many spin-off advantages.

The same is not true in some parts of India where a number of people are developing their own biogas plant systems and helping those around them to join in with the advantages of anaerobic digestion. This, we think you will agree is amply demonstrated in the following article extracts:

1 - Jharkhand Man Installs Biogas Plant in Balcony, Slashes LPG Bill by Half!

Able to serve a family for four years, the entire portable structure cost him less than Rs 10,000 and took a few hours to assemble. No wonder he is the talk of his neighbourhood now!

Almost 160 years ago, the first successful biogas generation plant was established in Mumbai, India. Since then, approximately five million biogas plants cater to domestic needs like water heating and cooking.

Contrary to this, various countries, especially Germany, have been efficiently harnessing its benefits in other sectors.

“Having been the forerunners, we should have led ahead of all in ushering the biogas revolution, not the European countries like Germany, that have become forerunners of biogas utilisation, both in domestic and public spheres,” said a senior corporate executive, while speaking to The Better India.

Based in Jamshedpur, this executive, Gaurav Anand, has led the movement by becoming the first man in the steel city to build a biogas plant small enough to fit into his apartment’s balcony!

Photo Source: Tatasphere

Not only has it slashed his monthly expenditure on LPG, but has also rewarded him with rich slurry compost that makes his garden bloom.  via Jharkha

2 - Patna Girl Builds Biogas Plants, Provides Electricity to Poor Farmers!

City born and bred she may be, yet Akansha Singh was aware of the economic and social inequalities that exist within India. But it wasn’t until she got to the ground and observed first-hand did she realise the scale of the issue.

After completing her Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in 2014, Akansha had set out to Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh as part of an internship.

She was 24 at the time.

“That was a devastating eye-opener for me. The two weeks that I was there, I observed no households had toilets neither did they have any proper power supply. Which meant, the women had to cook food before nightfall as their farmer husbands finished their farming activities by that time. One thing that had particularly affected me was that these families consumed their meals cold because they had to finish preparing dinner while there was still natural light,” says Akansha to The Better India.
During this period, she noticed many social and environmental issues in the region. The women were still cooking using cow dung cakes, and the entire family was inhaling hazardous smoke regularly.

Finally, after months of convincing and explaining to them the many benefits of the project, the villagers yielded, and Akansha began looking for land to build the plant.

“Fortunately, a person from another community volunteered and donated a patch of land for the project. It is remarkable as caste system is much prevalent in the region, but this kind individual wanted the underprivileged community to lead better and empowered lives. From there, our journey started,” she says.

Today, they have two biogas plants in Samastipur; one with 2-hour bioelectricity capacity while the other supplies power for four hours.

Swayambhu received its initial funding from DBS Bank, Singapore. Her project was also aided partly by the beneficiaries and mostly by both government and non-government agencies.

“There has been a visible change in these areas. After seeing how electricity has brightened up their lives, the beneficiaries have become truly committed to the cause and pay charges without fail. Also, ever since they have ditched chemical pesticides and fertilisers for the organic manure from the plant, they have been saving a considerable amount of money as well as observed better yield. Our solution has impacted in multiple folds,” 
Akansha adds.

In addition to community biogas plants, they have also worked on individual plants for bioelectricity, including one in collaboration with students of IIT Patna.
Completion of a biogas plant.

via Electricity to Poor Farmers!

A Biogas Startup By An IIT-Bombay Alumnus Aims To Fight Air Pollution And Manage Waste


New Delhi: 34-year-old Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe, a Pune based engineer is trying to provide a solution for two of the biggest environmental problems facing India – air pollution and burgeoning waste pile ups. 

The IIT-Bombay alumnus has launched a technology to produce cooking gas fuel by repurposing the organic-waste produced in the kitchen and at the same time reducing the dependence on fossil fuels. In 2017 he created ‘Vaayu’, a biofuel plant that can be easily installed at homes to convert carbohydrates from organic waste into methane gas which can be used for cooking and heating purposes.

“I was working at my parent’s firm about two years ago and I noticed that every day after lunch, a lot of leftover food used to end up in the garbage bins. Watching all that food go waste, I thought of trying composting to manage that waste. But it was not enough. On researching more, I came to know about biofuels. I found that not only will it help in managing organic waste, it will also help in reducing our dependence on non-renewable sources like LPG,” 
said Mr. Sahasrabuddhe.

Also Read: Mumbai Civic Body Produces Cooking Gas From Waste For Its Canteen In N-Ward

“Waste segregation is the key here. Initially, when I started advocating for green living, I used to go to each house in my locality every morning to ask them to segregate their waste. There were days when I myself used to pick organic waste from the nearby garbage dumps. But gradually when my neighbours started to understand ‘Vaayu’, they started segregating and I get almost 8- 10 kgs of organic waste at my doorstep every day,” 
said the engineer turned innovator.

After a long period of testing of the device at his home and reducing his dependence on LPG to a significant extent, Mr. Sahasrabuddhe pushed others in his family, neighbours, and friends to start using this innovation. Till date his startup has done 135 installations in Pune, Sangli, Aurangabad, Umarkhed (District Yavatmal), Palghar, Nashik and Hyderabad. These installations together are managing up to two tons of food waste per day and saving about 900 LPG cylinders worth fuel per year.

How Does ‘Vaayu’ Work?

‘Vaayu’ is a domestic bio-gas machine which can be installed in the house, in the gallery, on the terrace or in the garden. The apparatus is fuelled by the waste generated in the kitchen which gets broken down by bacterial action known as Anaerobic Bacterial Digestion. Through this process, the carbon dioxide captured inside the organic waste during photosynthesis is divided into methane gas and liquid. The gas is stored in the balloon kind of a structure called the cylinder which is connected to the stovepipe. The cooking experience is exactly the same as that of a regular LPG or piped CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). The slurry generated in this process is high on nutrients and can be utilised as manure for the plants in the house.

The regular size ‘Vaayu’ has a container of two kg capacity in which the organic waste is put. A single two kg container, ‘Vaayu’ produces 200 litres of biogas within 24 hours which is 40 minutes of cooking gas per day saving up to three LPG cylinders per year. The capacity of the device can be increased by adding the containers.

The device requires cleaning up once in six months. The solid undigested material removed is fibrous and can be taken back to the garden as manure. Currently, the cost of installing ‘Vaayu’ is Rs. 20,000 but the operating cost is zero. There is no need of power to run ‘Vaayu’ as it operates on its own. Mr. Sahasrabuddhe is still working to improve the technology to make if more affordable.

Mr. Sahasrabuddhe has also started an informal community of like-minded nature enthusiasts who come up with innovative solutions and want to share them with others. The community, ‘Vaayu Mitra’, provides biofuel solutions according to the number of people residing in a house and encourage them to adopt a greener lifestyle. He says,

In my society, everyone segregates their own waste now. I and my friends are working also with waste collectors and are training them to operate biogas plants so that they become energy suppliers too. This increased value will help them earn better remuneration. via Waste Warriors

If you know of any further examples like these in India, please provide details by leaving a comment.

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