Thursday, November 03, 2005

GEDA project uses food waste to generate power

Food-based industries often face the problem of waste disposal. Now there may be an eco-friendly, inexpensive and productive solution to the problem

As part of a project designed to put refuse to good use, the Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) is using fruit and vegetable waste to generate electricity.

The demonstration plant, at Naroda GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation), which generates about 130 units of electricity every day out of a tonne of food waste, is the brainchild of GEDA. Its partners in the project include the Union ministry of non-conventional energy sources and the Naroda Enviro Project Ltd (NEPL), a common effluent treatment plant situated in the area.

“This project, the first of its kind in the state, uses potato and banana skins, sesame husk and crushed waste of herbs to generate electricity,” explains Shalin Shah, a NEPL executive.

GEDA and the ministry have jointly borne 75% of the total cost of Rs 10 lakh required to set up the plant. NEPL contributed the rest.

The waste is sourced from 23 food-based industries in the Naroda industrial estate that use vegetables, fruits and herbs in their production process. There are also a number of units in the Naroda GIDC area that manufacture snacks, pickles, sweets and ayurvedic oils.

Shah says: “We collect waste from these industries and prepare a solution of the waste which is kept for 20 days in an anaerobic digestion tank. During this time, there is fermentation and the release of methane gas. The gas is then transported through pipes to a generator which uses 70% bio-gas and 30% diesel to generate electricity.”

The Naroda Enviro Project Ltd uses the electricity generated to light lamps within its compound. The solid waste generated after the generation of gas is being used as a bio-fertiliser.

“In the past, food-based industries faced the problem of waste disposal. But with the setting up of the plant in Naroda, this waste now serves as the raw material for the bio-gas plant,” says A K Chauhan, the man in charge of GEDA’s bio-gas division.

Explaining the genesis of the project, Shah says: “A few years ago, a German university did a study on the type of industrial waste generated and the value addition that can be made to the waste product. It was found that the food waste generated could be converted into energy. Carrying forward the findings of the study, GEDA decided to set up a bio-gas plant which makes use of food waste as a pilot project.”

About the cost of generating electricity, he adds: “Nothing, other than the cost of setting up the plant. The only expense incurred is on transportation.”

“As part of our commitment to find environment-friendly fuel, we experimented with this project and have found that it has potential in places where food industries are located,” says Chauhan.

all details about the Naroda bio-gas project


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