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Interaction | December 2015

By-products can be used as fuel & bio-manure

Dr. A. Saji Das, Managing Director, Biotech India

What is Biotech┬┤s current capacity and number of plants?
BIOTECH has successfully installed around 52 waste-to-electricity projects, 260 institutional plants and more than 30,000 family size kitchen waste treatment biogas plants with financial assistance from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, and with the active co-operation of the local bodies. We have a plan to expand our activities to different parts of the nation with the active cooperation of local self government institutions.

What are the technological advancements undertaken by you in this sector?
We have technology adoption for fast degradable materials through the utilization of Biogas Technology (Biomethanisation) for decentralised waste management, where the collection, transportation and segregation of waste can be avoided as the wastes are treated at source itself.

Biomethanisation is a universally accepted and proven technology for bio-energy Generation from bio-waste. It is very simple, user friendly and it needs no recurring expenses. Through the adoption of biomethanisation technology all degradable waste can be treated with the help of different types of anaerobic bacteria/microbes in a concealed chamber/digester. Treated biomaterials, coming out from the digester in the form of liquid or semi liquid can be used as a very good bio manure/organic fertilizer.

Secondly, there are two types of generators used for generating electricity from biogas. One is the duel fuel model, which is diesel gensets, and the other is 100 per cent biogas model. In the latter system the biogas is connected to the generator through air mix. Once the biogas is passed through the generator, automatically consumption requirement of the diesel is reduced. Also, no other fuel is required either to even start the operation, and any type of petrol engine can also be modified to be used as a biogas one. As such imported models are very costly and high maintenance, BIOTECH has developed these indigenously.

What are the difficulties you face in implementing this process?
Lack of awareness about the possibilities of the scheme and delay in government approvals are what pose the challenges. But, the potential is very high and this can be adopted across the country.

How can indegenious machinery bring down cost in this sector?
Ours is purely indigenous technology. The installation of Kerala┬┤s first bio-waste treatment power generation plant at Pathanapuragm Grama Panchayat in the Kollam District was 10 years back. This plant treats 500 kg of organic waste every day, generating 40 KW power every day. After the successful completion of the above project, 52 Grama Panchayats in Kerala came forward for the installation of such plants and BIOTECH has completed the installation of the power generation projects using market/slaughter house waste with power generation capacities ranging between 3 KW to 20 KW. The power generated from these projects is being utilised for energy requirements of the concerned markets and to meet the in-house requirement of the plant.

The specialty of BIOTECH projects are that there is no need of grid electricity for the regular operation of the plant, as a part of the power generated from the plant is utilised to meet the in-house requirement of the plant. Also, there are no much moving parts or complicated machineries. Besides which, the inbuilt slurry loop systems accelerate the fermentation process and reduce the consumption of drinking water. As per of the treated slurry is selling as liquid organic fertilizer.

How can companies take advantage of the need for waste disposal to expand the Indian biomass sector?
In accordance with the fast growing population, the demand for energy and the discharge of waste are increasing day by day. To overcome the energy crisis, alternative energy sources are the only remedy. Generation of energy from waste is beneficial in many ways. It is most suitable for eco-friendly waste disposal and also for energy generation.

With a view to finding out a permanent solution to the problem of contagious diseases caused by the accumulation of waste that is being increased daily, it is quite necessary that we have to extend the scheme of implementation of decentralised waste treatment programmes all over the country. Biogas technology enables one to produce bio-energy in the households by treating the wastes generated in the houses. This technology is also made applicable for treating the wastes produced from public places like markets, slaughter houses, hotels, convents etc and for generating electricity without causing any pollution to the atmosphere.

Why should people opt for biogas over any other renewable source?
The main advantage is that no external power is required for the operation of the plant. The power generated in the treatment plant can be utilised to meet the in-house requirement completely. Excess quantity can be utilised for any type of application, like the street lighting, providing lights to the markets etc.

Usually, 1.5 KW electricity can be produced from one cubic metre of biogas, with slight variations depending upon the percentage of methane content in biogas. The size of the generator can be fixed depending upon the availability of gas, the quantity of gas and the duration for the requirement of the power. The gas can be utilised as operation fuel in generators, while the treated bio-waste can be used as bio-manure. Utilising bio-manure can save money currently being spent on fertilizers, besides which soil fertility also increases and presence of insects in the soil can also be avoided to an extent.

What opportunities does Biotech provide in this sector?
Individuals and companies are looking for a bright future through the dissemination of green energy projects can associate themselves with BIOTECH in different ways. As Business Associates: Under this category one can find out interested individuals and companies for the installation of different categories of Green Energy projects. On receipt of the information from the business associates, the technical experts from BIOTECH will provide technical information and guidance for the effective installation of various domestic, institutional and waste to electricity projects. As Dealers: Those who interested to sell BIOTECH plants and projects can become the dealer of BIOTECH for National and International level operations.

As Distributors: Opportunities are also available for the distribution of BIOTECH plants for national and international customers.

As Joint Ventures: Under this category BIOTECH will transfer technical details to the joint venture companies for establishing production centers for the production of various models and types of Biogas plants and waste to energy projects on a massive scale.

With BIOTECH Training programme: BIOTECH has launched regular training programmes for the designing, Manufacturing, installation, operation, service and maintenance of different models of domestic, institutional and waste-to-electricity projects. Depending upon the subject selected, the duration of the training may vary from one week to one year.

- Jocelyn Fernandes

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