The wet waste generated at your home every day can now actually help you save on cooking gas expenses…
Seems impossible, doesn’t it? Not anymore, thanks to this Pune-based engineer who is turning wet waste into green fuel!
In an attempt to find solutions to manage food wastage, Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe, came up with this unique idea. He first started with composting the waste, but his curious nature got him in touch with Dr Anand Karve, an authority on biogas and it was under Karve’s guidance that Priyadarshan was able to generate biogas.
‘Vaayu’- the biogas technology, designed by Sahasrabuddhe has already been adopted by various households in Pune.
It helps manage waste and converts the photo-synthetically captured solar energy into flammable Methane gas through a completely biological process.
Explaining the process of converting wet waste into biogas that has successfully replaced LPG at his parent’s bungalow, Sahasrabuddhe says,“The process is simple.
“We put the food waste into the digestor that has bacterial culture into which the food waste enters. They convert the food into methane gas which is stored in a balloon. This balloon rises when gas is filled and recedes when we use the gas. So, we get a visual feedback of how much gas is available. The system is directly connected to the biogas burner which can be used for cooking.”
The Vaayu system of various capacities have now been installed at 140 locations across Maharashtra.
Food waste, green grass, dried leaves, animal dung as well as human sewage are the various inputs that are being used to make Methane gas through these installations. As of now, about 1.2 tons of biomass is being converted to energy and saving about 1,100-cylinders worth of LPG per year.
This in turn is resulting in reduction of up to 27 tonnes of fossil CO2 every year.”
Speaking of the challenges faced, Sahasrabuddhe remarks, “The biggest challenge is the mindset of citizens.
They feel that waste management is a responsibility of the local body. Without realising that the people involved in keeping cities clean do not get dignified treatment.
We all believe in the principle that ‘Polluter should pay’. Then why don’t we apply the same principle to ourselves?
Just imagine if I decide to do the work that a ‘Swachhata Karmachari’ (sanitation worker) is doing, how much salary would I expect to do this dirty work? Either, we give that salary to the ‘Karmachari’ or manage our waste on our own.”
|This is why you need to shift to biofuel:|
Making Renewable Energy a Common Person’s Subject
|As fossil fuels finish, and the world faces the challenge of transiting to renewable energy we are going to face a huge crisis. In the worst-case scenario leading to global wars. By empowering common people to make energy from biomass we are setting up the base to prevent this crisis.|
Making Organic Waste a Solution,
|Since organic waste is not waste but energy, this no longer is the problem but the solution to our energy problem. A much-needed change in approach to solving the waste crisis in cities.|
|Rural areas are going to be in energy surplus. Based on this surplus energy we can create rural livelihoods which will help to reduce concentration into cities for livelihood.|
Setting up the system at an individual level, costs around 24,000 and can save cooking gas and pay back in 6 to 7 years.
It has the capacity to digest about 2 kg waste per day and give about 40 mins of cooking time. This can also be used through cooperation by four families using it as a common waste management solution and one family using whatever gas it generates.
“If this is used through a cooperative level, by setting up a common unit for 15 families, it will cost Rs 45,000. This unit will manage food waste of 15 families and provide all the cooking gas to one family. This will payback in less than 5 years. We are working hard to reduce this cost. More installations will also help to achieve this reduction. As of now we make solutions up to 50 kg per day. So, it is relevant to individual homes, societies, hotels, canteens,” he adds.
Pune has been open to various initiatives to curb wastage at individual levels to benefit the society and environment.
“As of now people who see the power of small actions, who believe that it is their responsibility to manage their own waste and people who see the power of being self-sufficient for energy, set up Vaayu.”
Apart from reducing the pressure on landfills, Sahasrabuddhe also aims to empower citizens to generate their own energy by conversion of waste at source. “Besides we are training members of ‘Swach’- a network of waste pickers in Pune to operate Vaayu. We hope to make them energy providers rather than waste pickers so that they receive better remuneration.”
The current commissioner of PCMC also uses Vaayu at his residence. Sahasrabuddhe is also in talks with several officials to take his initiative on a larger scale.
“Yes, we are conversing with the officials. However, we believe that this is a private responsibility not a public one. The urban local bodies should no longer collect organic waste and must instead make it mandatory for citizens to manage it on their own,” he adds, signing off.
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