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Three biomethanation plants planned for Madurai

According to reports, under a social initiative of department of atomic energy, three biomethanation plants generating methane from garbage are planned for Madurai. The proposed plants, which are likely to come up in Thirumangalam and Melur municipalities and the central market in Mattuthavani, are likely to solve the garbage menace to some extent.

The project will come up under the Advance Knowledge and Rural Technology Implementation project of DAE and Babha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). The decision comes in the wake of a three-day campaign held here in February, sensitising people and officials on the spinoff technologies developed by DAE and BARC. These include non-power applications and technical consultancy services in the area of water, land, agriculture, tissue culture, food processing and urban-rural waste management.

The DAE-BARC team decided on biomethanation plants following interactions with the district administration. After the February visit, it had held series of discussions and then received proposals from the district administration to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) on the plants. While a one-ton plant is proposed for Melur municipality, two-ton plants will come up at Thirumangalam municipality and at the central market near Mattuthavani, said Daniel Chellappa, senior scientist and technical coordinator of BARC team which will prepare the DPR. “We will prepare the DPR and provide the BARC technology in setting up these plants. We will provide one-year hand-holding and technical expertise for the operators,” Chellappa said.

For every ton of garbage fed into the plant, two cylinders of methane will be produced in addition to 50 kg of organic manure. The gas can be utilised to produce electricity, he said. “Obtaining organic manure as the residue is the best part of the project as it can redress the garbage issue. The farmers have also expressed their interest on other projects which we will be considering,” he said.

Madurai district collector Anshul Mishra said the proposals are at the project level. “We will strive to work on the proposals and set them up which will be of great help in garbage management”, he said.

The social campaigns of DAE and BARC aim to achieve techno-economic growth especially of the rural sector. Both identify local requirements and thereafter create structured and scalable network of technology nodes in rural areas. Such facilities will provide easy access to modern technologies to villagers in their own villages. In Madurai, local people and farmers had expressed their interest on various technologies like membrane-based drinking water solution, foldable solar driers, drought-resistant crop varieties and pest control methods developed by BARC.

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