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Published by: svmapuskar on Mar 29, 2011
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With a very well established cattle dung based biogas plant programme, it is naturalthat the quest for increasing the biogas generation in the country will lead to developingof biomethanation processes for the use of substrates other than cattle dung. At present,most of them are treated as waste, garbage, nuisance and hazard. The improper or inadequate disposal of such wastes leads to unhealthy conditions. This becomes a sourceof pollution and a public health problem. If such waste is recycled in a biogas plant, itwill be a source of energy, health and wealth.
2)Alternative substrates for biomethanation
When alternative substrates for biomethanation are contemplated, the current cattledung based biogas plant technology will have to be modified to suit the particular alternative substrate. For developing a biomethanation process for each type of substrate,the parameters, the design criteria and the characteristics of the substrate will have to beconsidered as a package for evolving a technology process.
3)Vegetable waste as a substrate for biomethanation
One such alternative substrate for biomethanation is vegetable market waste (Mandiwaste). At present, it’s collection, transportation and disposal is a problem for most citiesand towns where there are vegetable markets. If this waste could be digested in a biogasdigester, both biogas and fertilizer could be produced. In addition, the management of  public health problem arising out of such waste could be dealt with effectively. Thereexists a significant potential for processing of such wastes as a new non conventionalenergy source.Ct.—page 2-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*Director, Jyotsna Arogya Prabodhan, Dehu Village, Tal- Haveli, Dist-Pune,(Maharashtra) 412 109Secretary, Appa Patwardhan Safai W Paryawaran Tantraniketan, Dehu Village,Tal- Haveli, Dist-Pune, (Maharashtra) 412 109.Adviser, Sanitation and Bio energy, Maharashtra Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Gandhi Bhavan,Kothrud , Pune ,(Maharashtra) 411 029.
4)Availability of vegetable waste
All cities, districts and tehsils have vegetable markets which produce plenty of vegetable waste irrespective of the size of the market. This waste may weigh anywhere between one to fifty tonnes. In large cities and towns it could be to the extent of a fewhundred tonnes. Thus, an enormous amount of such vegetable waste is being produceddaily. In India, there are about 400 districts with about 4000 towns and bazaar placeshaving large vegetable markets. The vegetable waste at all these places could total toaround fifty thousand tonnes.One tonne of vegetable waste yields around 80 Cu M of biogas per day. If a fewthousand biogas plants could be installed, this waste could be a significant source of  biogas. It will therefore be worthwhile to develop a technology for the use of thissubstrate, taking into consideration its characteristics.
Characteristics of vegetable waste
Vegetable waste is generally stale or spoilt vegetable, not fit for human consumption.This material is usually high in fibrous content. In the market, the collected wastematerial is usually mixed with street sweepings and inorganic trash like rags, metals etc.It is therefore necessary to have an arrangement whereby only the vegetable wastecomponent is separated. Besides, these vegetables are usually in different sizes, shapesand forms. They need to be cut into smaller pieces so as to form a slurry.Vegetable waste has a moisture content of around 89%. About 75% of total solids present are volatile solids. Their biodegradability will vary according to the kind of wastematerial and the state of hardening of the stems. The pH of the material tends to be acidicranging between 5 and 6. The carbon: nitrogen ratio varies in each vegetable. However,for the mixed waste it could be around 20:1 or 30:1 Thus, the process will have to bedeveloped to suit these physical and chemical characteristics.
6)Pilot plant at APMC, Pune Market Yard
There were no published reports about field scale biomethanation plants using mandiwastes. Therefore, no specific process technology was available. It was decided toestablish an experimental plant, so that the most convenient technology could bedeveloped. The preliminary work was done on a laboratory scale at Appa PatwardhanSafai W Paryavaran Tantraniketan, Dehu. The Ministry of Non-Conventional EnergySources and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Pune agreed to sharethe costs for establishing such a plant at Gultekdi Market Yard at Pune. The inputcapacity of the proposed plant was proposed to be about one tonne of vegetable waste per day. After getting adequate experience and developing a suitable process technology,the technology could be scaled up to fifty tonnes of waste per day. In addition, the plantcould become a demonstration unit for other market places. Based on the laboratoryresults, one tonne waste was expected to produce 80 to 100 Cu M of biogas.
The proposed biogas plant was established at the market yard
in the year 1992
andwas commissioned immediately thereafter. The biogas thus produced is used in therestaurants in the market yard. The manure produced after the digestion, is being sold tothe farmers.
7)Objectives of process development
The objective of process development was to develop a biomethanation process for recycling the mandi waste properly. The indigenous biomethanation technology was thestarting point in view of its simplicity and suitability to ambient Indian conditions. The proposed process technology was such that it would be easy to construct, easy to operateand easy to maintain, at the hands of the type of semiskilled personnel readily availablein most places. The mechanization was kept at the lowest possible level so as tominimize energy inputs in the operation. The aim was to use only 10% of the generatedenergy in the process operation.The economic viability was to be an important consideration. ’On Site’ process was proposed as it would solve transportation problems and add to the economic viability.The management of waste in a hygienic unconventional process would give anenvironment friendly solution to the pollution problem.
8)The Plant design
With the above concepts in mind, it was decided to use a floating dome water  jacketed design. It was decided to construct two digesters of 50 Cu M capacity each, soas to allow the process to continue when one digester is opened up for maintenance. A permanent gantry was constructed to facilitate the lifting of the gasholders fomaintenance.
Plant components
The components of the biogas plant including pre-treatmentstage, digestion stage and product recovery stage were:a) Platform for dumping waste materials.b) Water tank for the separation of vegetable waste from other inorganic wastes likedust, stones, rags, papers, metals etc.c) Shredder for cutting the vegetables.d) Mixing tank for the preparation of slurry.e) Inlet chamber.f) Biogas digesters.g) Outlet chamber.h) Digested slurry tank.i) Leach pits for drying the manure.j) Gas holders and gas distribution pipelines.k) Sampling arrangements.l) Monitoring arrangements.

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