According to reports, a solution to the vexed issue of garbage disposal at Kovalam, near here, is in sight with the government giving the green signal for setting up a five-tonne innovative biogas plant developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
The Rs.1.18-crore Nisargruna biogas plant, developed by the Technology Transfer and Collaboration Division of BARC, Trombay, for effective management of solid waste, will be set up on 50 cents owned by Kerala Tourism at Mayakunnu behind the popular Light House beach.
Official sources told The Hindu that the government had issued orders for setting up the biogas plant after the Working Group on Tourism cleared a proposal recommended by the Suchitwa Mission.
The plant will be set up by Kerala Tourism within a year. The funds have been made available from the current year’s budget.
The biogas plant, which works on bio-methonisation technology developed by BARC, will be able to handle five tonnes of waste daily. It is estimated that hotels at the tourist destination generate 5,000 kg of biodegradable waste daily. The capital-based Socio Economic Unit Foundation (SEUF), the nodal agency that holds the patent for the BARC model, will provide technical support for installing the plant.
Unlike conventional biogas plants, the BARC plant ensures increased production of biogas for every tonne of waste, reduces waste processing time, and provides for separate treatment of slurry.
The plant can process kitchen waste, paper waste, grass, leaf litter, remains from abattoirs, hospital waste, green plant waste, crop residues, and water hyacinth. The material to be processed should be brought to the plant site every day and sorted.
The main drawback of the conventional plants is the unscientific management of slurry, which is allowed to ooze out into open surfaces, polluting groundwater and soil. Under the BARC technology, the slurry will get filtered in separate compartments. While the liquid part will be recycled in the operation of the plant, the solid particles will be dried and used for making fertilizer.
The BARC model ensures production of 32 kg biogas for a tonne of waste, compared to 20 to 22 kg produced by conventional plants. The methane content in the biogas produced by the BARC plant is 10 per cent more than the methane content produced by the other plants.
Official sources said the gas generated from the biogas plant at Kovalam would either be used for running biogas engines for electricity generation or partially meeting the fuel requirement for cooking without causing environmental problems.
Since the BARC model preserved an optimum temperature of 55 degree Celsius inside the plant, it would help cut down the waste processing time. The processing time would be almost halved from 35 days, as was the case in conventional plants, they said.
A committee with officials of the Thiruvananthapuram city Corporation, Tourism and Local Self-government Departments, Suchitwa Mission, and Kerala State Pollution Control Board will be set up to oversee the implementation of the project.