Use the organic waste from your kitchen to generate safe cooking gas. The cost? Rs 23,500 per unit. The savings? Only non-organic garbage to dispose of and a nearly 70 per cent saving on LPG.
If it sounds too good to be true, there are already 29 such portable domestic biogas units purchased by the state government up and running in various institutions of Karnataka.
The 30th is being set up at Bangalore’s Central Power Research Institute (CPRI).
Four of the functional units are in Bangalore itself, purchased by the BBMP, after a demonstration in November last year. Strangely, the civic body has not gone for a scaled-up use of this model across the city, despite the serious garbage disposal problem.
IT/BT, Science and Technology Minister S R Patil told Express that he will review the technology in consultation with a panel of experts and then take it to the Cabinet. “The concept is new and interesting. It may come in handy, considering the LPG problems and the recurring garbage disposal issues. We will visit a couple of plants to understand the technology. If the technology is feasible and economical, I can discuss with the Chief Minister on promoting it through schemes,” he said.
There are nearly 20 installations in the homes of Bangaloreans, including Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman (KSPCB) Vaman Acharya and former executive chairman of the Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board (KSBDB) Y B Ramakrishna.
Ramakrishna said: “As long as we use only wet waste as fuel, the plant works perfectly fine. I am happy that we have installed it at home.”
Several such portable biogas units are already in daily use in Kerala. The Kerala government has given a Rs 5,000 subsidy per unit given via Gram Panchayats to select beneficiaries.
About 8,000 units have been sold by the manufacturing company Synod Biosciences in that state.
In January, the KSBDB installed biogas units in the board’s existing biofuel Information and Demonstration Centres across the state, in both public and private institutions.
These include the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST), Bangalore, University of Agricultural Sciences campuses at Bangalore, Raichur and Dharwad, National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal and Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belgaum.
The portable unit occupies 4 square metres space and can be fitted into an average kitchen. Synod Director Zeeshan M P told Express: “There will be no odour from the waste slurry as long as only wet waste is used as fuel. There slurry can be used as manure for a kitchen garden.”
With an input of 3 kilograms of kitchen waste and an equal quantity of water, the plant can generate up to three hours of uninterrupted supply of cooking gas, he said.
Dr S K Sharma, Head, Wood Properties and Engineered Wood Division, IWST, who is in charge of the biogas plant on the campus, said the plant takes care of all the cooking gas needs of its cafeteria.
“Wet kitchen waste from over 100 staff quarters located within the institute are fed into the plant. If the quantity fluctuates, the gas supply remains constant,” he outlined. This plant has a capacity to handle 100-125 kg per day.
Zeeshan said there are no maintenance costs for the plant. “There are no complicated machines here, it is just a simple digester. The digester is expected to last 25 years,” he added.
Ramakrishna said: “The method is old, but the technology that delivers it is new. The government must facilitate and promote the new technology through its schemes and subsidies so that more people get to know and can benefit from it.”