A Biogas Kitchen
There are ways one can contribute to the environment even as you stand in the kitchen. Rather than throw the banana peels or spinach stems or other biodegradable waste into the dustbin, you could toss them into the Compact Biogas Plant to create pollution-free methane gas and, in effect, help conserve planet earth's depleting fossil fuels.
The significance of this innovation:
"Traditionally, biogas is produced from dung. Around 40 kg of dung needs to be fermented for 40 days to produce 250 grams of methane. Due to this highly inefficient process, biogas has not emerged as an alternative to LPG. However, this system requires just 1 kg of sugar or equivalent in biodegradable substance to be fermented for 24 hours, to produce the same amount of methane." It is this efficiency and uniqueness, as compared to other biogas projects.
urban Maharashtra and in surrounding areas. This is a conservative figure.
The CBP has found tremendous acceptance. Currently, the plant system has been installed in 20000 households in rural as well as
TheThane Municipal Corporation has installed a 20,000-litre plant. "They use the feedstock from a nearby restaurant. The Thane Municipal Corporation is looking at increasing the capacity of the plant by four times. Incidentally, the Thane Municipal Corporation CBP produces 1.83 lakh kg of methane gas per annum, which otherwise would have cost the civic body Rs 76.5 lakh annually to generate. The methane is used for various heating applications such as those in use at hospitals and crematoria, and has resulted in a reduction in the use of diesel.
While the CBP is more suitable to farmers (for whom installation space and biodegradable materials, such as farm waste, are easily available), city households and, more appropriately, bungalow residents can also avail of the device.
How it works ?
The plant is installed in an open area close to the house. The device has several pipes through which feedstock is added to the approximately 6 ft X 6 ft fermentor; digested residue is removed and the generated blue methane biogas travels into the kitchen to a special burner.
Biogas is not really a substitute for LPG, but is a standby and can be used alongside LPG. Installation costs at Rs 9,000 for a 1,000-litre fermentor (compared to Rs 5, 000 for an LPG cylinder with a two-burner range) may seem steep, but the kitchen budget does eventually get a breather.
The per-day running cost of a CBP fed on waste flour would come to around Rs 2, compared to the Rs 30 a day equivalent usage in terms of LPG.
In addition to the benefits in terms of environment and household budgets, the CBP can be a life-saving device for those who use indoor biogas choolas (stoves). According to the World Health Organisation, about three million people die every year due to exposure to suspended particle matter in the air, and 85 per cent of those deaths are due to indoor air pollution.
"Indoor pollution is caused mainly due to traditional cooking stoves, using traditional biomass- So why has this biogas plant created a stir in international scientific circles and aroused curiosity amongst people? The conventional biogas plant works on human or animal excreta. To produce 250 gms of methane, you require 40 kgs of excreta. It takes 40 days for this to decompose. In sharp contrast, this innovative 'new compact biogas technology' method requires 1 kg of starch or sugar (in the form of vegetable waste, flour collected from the floor of a flour mill) and just 24 hours to produce 250 gms of methane gas.