Biomass, CleanFuel, Other

Where biogas emerges as alternative to LPG

According to reports, the steep hike in the price of LPG cylinder or its short supply does not seem to worry the 160-odd households of Komarapalayam near Sathyamangalam in Erode district.

Nor is it a cause for concern for food contractor Rajendran at Sri Balasubramaniya Modern Rice Mill, Vellakinar Post in Coimbatore.

While the women in Komarapalayam hamlet use gas stove in to prepare the meal for their family, Rajendran says he has contracted to supply the daily meal for 700-odd persons.

“After the establishment of the biogas plant here, I’ve given up using the gas cylinder for cooking purposes. My daily saving now is approximately the cost of two such cylinders or about Rs 1 lakh a month,” says Rajendran, referring to the cylinder cost. While use of biogas is not new, what actually surprises the visitors to the kitchen at Komarapalayam hamlet and the Rice Mill here is production of Hu-methane gas using plant waste and human excreta (night soil). “Maintenance cost is nil. If I had gone in for construction of a septic tank, I would have had to incur the recurring cost of cleaning the tank every now and then,” says A. Shanmugasundaram, Director, Sri Balasubramaniya Modern Rice Mill.

The technology, which is the brain child of V.R. Rajendran, a waste treatment specialist and Proprietor of Nirmal Bio-Gen Technology, has found a place in a good number of educational institutions, hospitals and mills as well. Rajendran says he has established hundreds of large-sized plants across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. “We developed this technology in 1982 at Chakkupallam in Kerala. Since then, we have not looked back. Unlike deriving energy through other renewable sources, the production of biogas through kitchen/food waste, agricultural waste, animal waste and human waste solves the problem of waste disposal.”

“The water released from the plant can be used in fish-rearing and as a soil nutrient in agriculture,” adds Rajendran.

The initial investment is high though, but the return on the investment can be recouped in less than three years, said D. Selvaraj, former Deputy General Manager, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency.



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