Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121
www.marathikatta.com - Compact Biogas Plant makes waves in Maharashtra

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121

Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/marat6/public_html/libs/utils.php on line 121
In the era of global warming and climate change, scientists are busy finding ways to curb carbon emissions while providing enough energy to meet the rising demand across the world. Scientists believe biogas might be one of the answers to meet the energy shortfall in the developing countries. However, biogas has not been commercially viable because of the high amount of biodegradable waste required to produce small quantity of methane.

This scene is likely to change with the development of Compact Biogas Plant, which requires small amount of biodegradable waste and can be installed in a household. Biogas is traditionally produced from dung. About 40 kg of dung is required to ferment for 40 days to produce 250 gm of methane. Due to this highly inefficient process, biogas never became popular and never emerged as an alternative to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“However, my system requires just 1 kg of sugar or its equivalent in biodegradable substance to ferment for just 24 hours to produce 250 gm of methane,” explains 68-year old Dr Anand Karve, the founder of NGO, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI), based in Pune. Started in 1996, ARTI works to find innovative energy options for the rural segment. It is this innovation in the biogas project which earned him Ashden Award last year. Ashden Awards were founded in 2001 by the London-based Ashden Trust and are awarded for innovation in sustainable energy.

However, the compact biogas plant requires special burner. The initial investment for a household with 1000 lt fermentor is Rs 9,000. Though it is compact as compared to other biogas projects it still requires 6 X 6 ft space to install the fermentor and it is thus inappropriate for flats in metros. The project is appropriate for bungalows in metros and the rural segment. Karve himself points out that is not really a substitute for LPG but is a standby and can be used alongside LPG. This is especially useful in the rural segment since biodegradable material, like farm waste, is easily available to them.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about three million people die every year due to exposure to suspended particle matter in the air and that 85% deaths are due to indoor air pollution. One of the main reasons for indoor air pollution is the traditional cooking stoves which uses traditional biomass-based fuels. These deaths can be prevented by the use of methane as cooking fuel. As of now, the system has been installed in more than 1000 households in rural as well as urban households in Pune and surrounding areas. “We also sell VCD of the procedure of installing the biogasproject and we have sold around 10,000 CDs, so we really don't know how many households are actually using the compact biogas plant,” says Dr Karve.

The biogas plant has been adopted by Thane Municipal Corporation, which has installed a 20,000 plant at its hospital. The feedstock for this installation comes from a small restaurant nearby. Thane Municipal Corporation is toying with the idea of increasing the capacity of the plant by four times. The plant produces 1.83 lakh kg Methane gas per annum. The equivalent amount of this generated methane gas would be around Rs 76.5 lakhs per annum. This gas is being utilised for various heating applications in hospitals, crematorium etc resulting in reduction in the use of diesel. Pune Municipal Corporation has also accepted the technology and has installed a plant at its Mangal Ward office.

This is not the first time that Dr Karve has been awarded for his innovation for the rural segment. He received Ashden Award in 2004 as well, for converting sugar cane leaves into charcoal, as well. "This system uses dry leaves, which is left in field after harvest of sugarcane. A hectare of sugarcane generates about 10 tonnes of dry leaves. It can be pyrolysed and converted into fuel briquettes. It requires initial investment of Rs 4 to Rs 5 lakh, which can be easily shelled out by the rich sugarcane farmers of Maharashtra and within six months the person is sure to make a profit of Rs 5 lakh," says Karve. ARTI also has two commercial units under the same management: Sahyadri Technical Assistance and Industrial Coop Ltd in Phaltan and Samuchit Environ-tech Pvt Ltd in Pune for marketing its technologies. For instance, Samuchit manufactures the special kiln used for converting sugarcane leaves to charcoal. A special chulha is also required to use this charcoal as domestic fuel. This chulha is manufactured by Sahyadri

Technical Assistance at Phaltan and is sold for around Rs 350. ARTI is funded by Shell Foundation as well as Ministry of Rural Development. The organisation believes that it will be self-sufficient and profit making in the next three years, by when the funding from Shell Foundation will stop. However, Dr Karve is bitter about the lack of recognition by the Indian Government.

“The breed of politicians which wanted India to be self-sufficient is long dead and gone. Indigenous development is not really recognised by the government. Even after winning Ashden Award, there is no recognition from the government,” says Dr Karve. He has headed Centre for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development (funded by Ministry of Science) in thepast. Nevertheless, the unassuming scientist is quick to put the bitterness behind him and continues to explain the various innovations to the visitors, who continue to throng his office.

Though biogas is still a long way from emerging as an alternative to LPG, Dr Karve's Compact Biogas Plant is a step in this direction. The need of the hour is to educate more and more people, especially in the rural segment, about the advantages of using biogas. One hopes that there are more innovations coming out from Dr Karve's lab.
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