Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plea to CREDAI: Community waste-to-energy plant

The Hindu report on Chennai civic body's initiative for area-specific bio-gas plants with food-traders participation should be read with an earlier post in this blog - Waste-to-energy plant: A Padur proposal.

The Hindu report: Chennai Corporation, at a meeting with representatives of hotelsThe , marriage halls and other commercial food business operators asked the traders to commission decentralised waste processing facility based on a technology of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

OMR Resident : OMR Greens would like to see a zero waste project set up at Padur as a cost-sharing venture involving the civic body, developers and residents of Mantri Synergy,  Akshayas,  TVH,  ETA,  X S Real and the Gem Group. Corporate offices located in the area can be tapped for CSR funding.

The Chennai corporation, faced with resistance from traders to a hike in conservancy charges, is seeking to promote private-funded  bio-gas plants in various areas. The BARC model for waste processing provides for source segregation of garbage and energy generation from bio-waste. The technology offers a decentralized way of garbage disposal as 300 sq. ft. of land is enough to process one tonne of waste a day.

OMR Greens suggestion for joint-venture bio-gas plants, involving panchayat, residents, real-estate developers and CSR-minded corporates, addresses waste-processing  needs of emerging OMR residential communities that do not come under Chennai municipal corporation. When OMR Greens representatives broached the subject at a recent meeting with Mrs Snehal Mantri she expressed the view that such proposals work better if they are taken up by CREDAI, developers association, with the govt. and the relevant authorities. On her part, Mrs Mantri offered to refer our plea to CREDAI chief (Tamil Nadu Chapter) and Akshaya founder Mr T Chitty Babu.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Waste-to-energy project: A Padur proposal

In his budget speech, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O.Paneerselvam admitted that solid waste management in urban areas was a major challenge. “This government will continue to promote source segregation and recycling to  limit the disposal of solid waste through land fills,” he said. “Waste to energy projects will be established wherever possible,” the Finance Minister said in the budget speech 2013-2014.
- From The Hindu

This patch of vacant land, presumably,  under Padur panchayat jurisdiction,  holds out possibilities for a community composts yard and waste-to-energy plant. OMR Greens, community service initiative, would like to see a zero waste project set up at Padur as a cost-sharing venture involving the civic body, developers of residential high-rises in Padur and residents of Mantri Synergy,  Akshayas,  TVH,  ETA,  X S Real and the Gem Group. Corporate offices located in the area can be tapped for CSR funding.
If panchayat can allocate the land, we can seek the co-operation of the Hindustan University environment dept. in getting ready a project report. Which can, then, be taken up for official clearances and funding. OMR Greens would do the leg work and networking.    
A cluster approach to developing civic infrastructure in emerging residential areas along OMR, and decentralised waste disposal system appears a credible way to go. And if a waste collection and disposal system can be put in place at Padur, we could be a trend-setter for such joint initiative else in OMR, and, indeed, the rest of the fast-growing city that doesn't come under Chennai municipal corporation.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mamallapuram: Kitchen waste powers street lights

The Mamallapuram  branch of Adyar Ananda Bhavan generates 30 kg. kitchen waste a day.  A seaside resort  across the East Coast Road accounts  for 10 times more of food waste.  There are 700 odd eateries in this tourist town.  Till about five years back,  food waste from  Mamallapuram restaurants and hotels  wound up at  the municipal landfill.
And then,  came a bio-gas plant that converts kitchen waste into electricity.  I don’t know who made the first move,  but Vivekananda Kendra -  a Kanyakumari based NGO -   designed and set up this plant,  on a reclaimed  patch  of the municipal garbage dump yard.  The  waste-to-energy plant  is run by another NGO – Hand-in-Hand.

Mr M Raja of  Hand-in-Hand who conducted us around the plant -  a group of  OMR Greens  members from Padur -  explained at length the waste-to-energy conversion process,  from door-step collection of food waste to transmission of the converted electricity that powered 25 street lights.  Over 40 waste collectors are engaged;  and their remunaration is covered by the collection charges paid by the eating houses.  A minimum levy for kitchen waste collection is Rs.50 a month  and the chrages vary in accordance with the quantum of food waste collection.
The Mamamallapuram  waste-to-energy plant is a collective enterprise,  of several stakeholders. The plant,  designed by an NGO, and located on panchayat land,  is run by another NGO,  with  monthly contributions by eateries.  The 10 kilowatts generator running on bio-gas produced by Kirloskars,   costing Rs.20 lakhs  (at the 2008 price level),  is a donation from Sweden.  Under the renewable energy programme  the town panchayat is eligible to Rs.4 lakh subsidy.
Mr Raja,  so knowledgeable on so many aspects,  couldn’t,  however, tell us  the one thing  we needed to know -  the unit cost for producing power from kitchen waste.  We wanted this info., if only to push the waste-to-energy  proposal  to  Padur  panchayat  and other stakeholders. Diesel generator driven power costs over Rs.15 per unit.  Ideally,  there should be a waste-to-energy unit for every panchayat  and in setting it up all stakeholders in the neighbourhood  need to be involved -  residents,  other individuals and institutions  generating waste,  property developers responsible for mushrooming residential high-rises ,  and the panchayat.
A bio-gas plant developed by Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) lends itself to  decentralized waste disposal system. For a plant with capacity to process one tonne waste daily requires  no more than 300 sq.ft.  of land.  And a tonne of bio-degradeable waste can produce 25-30 kg. of methane,  about 150 kg. carbon dioxide and  nearly 60 kg of organic manure.  Besides kitchen and veg. market wastes,  and those generated in abattoirs,  the BARC bio-gas model can take in even hazardous biological sludge
The plant,  they say can be operated by unskilled workers  such as rag-picker  Ramesh  and his folks at Padur .   All they require is one-month training.

Posted from My Take by GVK