VEGETABLE MARKET (MANDI) WASTE AT APMC, PUNE UTILISATION FOR BIOMETHANATION PILOT PROJECT (done in 1992) by
S.V.MAPUSKAR* 1) Introduction With a very well established cattle dung based biogas plant programme, it is natural that the quest for increasing the biogas generation in the country will lead to developing of 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 source of pollution and a public health problem. If such waste is recycled in a biogas plant, it will be a source of energy, health and wealth. 2) Alternative substrates for biomethanation When alternative substrates for biomethanation are contemplated, the current cattle dung 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 be considered 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 (Mandi waste). At present, it’s collection, transportation and disposal is a problem for most cities and towns where there are vegetable markets. If this waste could be digested in a biogas digester, 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. There exists a significant potential for processing of such wastes as a new non conventional energy source. Ct.—page 2 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*Director, Jyotsna Arogya Prabodhan, Dehu Village, Tal- Haveli, Dist-Pune, (Maharashtra) 412 109 Secretary, 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 few hundred tonnes. Thus, an enormous amount of such vegetable waste is being produced daily. In India, there are about 400 districts with about 4000 towns and bazaar places having large vegetable markets. The vegetable waste at all these places could total to around fifty thousand tonnes. One tonne of vegetable waste yields around 80 Cu M of biogas per day. If a few thousand 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 this substrate, taking into consideration its characteristics.
5) 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 waste material 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 waste component is separated. Besides, these vegetables are usually in different sizes, shapes and 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 waste material and the state of hardening of the stems. The pH of the material tends to be acidic ranging 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 be developed 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 mandi wastes. Therefore, no specific process technology was available. It was decided to establish an experimental plant, so that the most convenient technology could be developed. The preliminary work was done on a laboratory scale at Appa Patwardhan Safai W Paryavaran Tantraniketan, Dehu. The Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Pune agreed to share the costs for establishing such a plant at Gultekdi Market Yard at Pune. The input capacity 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 plant could become a demonstration unit for other market places. Based on the laboratory results, 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 and was commissioned immediately thereafter. The biogas thus produced is used in the restaurants in the market yard. The manure produced after the digestion, is being sold to the 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 the starting 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 operate and easy to maintain, at the hands of the type of semiskilled personnel readily available in most places. The mechanization was kept at the lowest possible level so as to minimize energy inputs in the operation. The aim was to use only 10% of the generated energy 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 an environment 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, so as 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 for maintenance.
9) Plant components
The components of the biogas plant including pre-treatment stage, 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 like dust, 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.
m) Gas transportation system upto the utilization place n) Burners at the consumer end. o) Gantry with chain pulley block. 10) Plant process The design used for the digester is a floating gas holder with water jacketed digester. This design was chosen because the biogas plant is located in the close vicinity of the market yard vegetable stalls. With the use of this design,emission of any odour in the viscinity is totally avoided. Location of the biogas plant was planned very near the market, to facilitate the collection of waste at the plant site with minimum possible efforts and costs. The water jacket also gives full gas recovery and ideal anaerobic conditions for biomethanation. The retention time of the digester is 30 days (suitable for the ambient conditions in Maharashtra). The vegetable waste is collected by the market yard staff and brought to the dumping platform by a tractor trailer. This waste is dumped into a washing and separating tank, from which only vegetable waste is separated. This waste is then cut into very small pieces (about 5 mm size) in the shredder. A suitable shredder was not available in the market. Hence, some experimentation had to be done. After trying about four designs, a final suitable design has been specially fabricated. After shredding, the material is allowed to flow into the mixing tank, where it is mixed with water in the proportion of 1:2 (1 veg : 2 water). The laboratory work results have shown that this proportion gives optimum gas yield and the desirable pH value of around 7. The prepared slurry is then fed to the biogas digester. Two digesters are placed in parallel, each having a capacity to take in 500 kg of vegetable waste per day. This helps in keeping the process going if one digester is closed for maintenance. The digested slurry from the digester flows out from the outlet chamber from where it is led to the digested slurry tank. This arrangement has been provided for carrying wet slurry in tankers, wherever possible, for use in gardens and farms. Wet slurry is richer in plant nutrients as the dissolved nutrients are retained. From the tank, the overflowing slurry is led to the manure leach pits. Three manure leach pits are provided and these are used in a ten day cycle. The dry manure is removed from the pits and stored for sale. The gas holders are made of mild steel. Care is taken to see that their weight is sufficient to give 10 cm water column pressure on the gas at the consumer end. The gas holder is provided with an external guide frame. A guide stand and gantry has also been provided. This facilitates the lifting of the gas holder with the help of chain pulley block whenever necessary. This has been done in view of the possibility of scum formation in the digester. The gas holders are also fitted with scum breaking assembly from inside. The gas holders are fitted with dry gas flow meter. This is useful for measuring the daily gas generation and the gas use.
Arrangements are also made to withdraw samples of the biomass in the digestor to monitor the anaerobic reaction rate. The laboratory is used for lab scale experiments and monitoring. The results obtained from the laboratory are used for the day to day running of the plant. Gas supply has been made through pipeline of adequate diameter. The pipeline is provided with condensate removal arrangements at four points. The total length of the main line is approximately 160 to 170 meters. The consumers are provided with 0.91 CuM, 1.13 CuM, 2.83 CuM biogas consumption per hour capacity burners depending on the individual needs. On each consumer line, a dry gas flow meter has been provided. Consumers are charged at a rate per cubic meter. The present plant can be scaled up to take in up to 20 tonnes of waste daily by providing additional digesters and using a bigger shredder. 11) Performance The plant was commissioned in November 1992. Since then, the plant is performing quite well and is generating about 80 liters of biogas per kg of wet waste. Seasonal variation in the biogas yield has been observed. The methane content of the gas was around 70%.
The economic viability has been worked out and plant is found to be definitely economically viable. 12) Technological problems resolving The slurry preparation is an important first step. At present no standard equipment is available for preparing the slurry from waste materials. In this project, a specially fabricated shredder is being used. Dry grinding was contemplated and given up because it would increase the number of steps in the process, increase the time required and substantially increase the cost. It has been observed in the laboratory that an attempt at commissioning the plant purely on vegetable waste with minimum seeding does not succeeds. Hence the initial commissioning has to be done with some excreted waste like cattle dung. The vegetable waste will have to be subsequently added, on per day basis. When the commissioning is done in this way, the pH of the digested slurry can be maintained at 7 to 7.4 without any problem. Cattle dung is required only for the initial feed. Subsequently, it is not necessary to add the cattle dung. With vegetable waste, the scum formation in the digester is expected due to the high ligninous fibre content of the material. If the waste material is shredded adequately so as to cut the fibrous portion, the scum formation is delayed. In the present plant, an arrangement for scum breaking has been made in the body of the gas holder. An arrangement for lifting the gas holder periodically is necessary. Inspite of attempt at breaking the scum, the fibres tend to float. Hence, for the present, periodical removal of scum, seems to be the only way to deal with it. It can be done every four to six months. In order to facilitate this, a gantry and a chain pulley block were provided The feeding of the material does need more man power but the cost involved is compensated by the amount of gas generation. Therefore the technology will give positive cost benefit ratio. 13) Economic viability The effort was to see whether the waste can pay for its own management.For this purpose the sale value of the end products would be a basic consideration.The overall management cost had to be managed within that limitation. The income was to come from the sale of gas and the manure. The total income was 80% from gas and 20% from manure. The expenditure included pay of the staff, electricity, water, maintenance of the plant, depreciation and the servicing of the capital investment. In order to work within these limits, it was decided to use simple easily manageable technology which could be easily handled by semiskilled labour (for keeping wages bill on lower side) and minimum inevitable mechanization. Provision of free of cost land was the responsibility of APMC as the management of waste in APMC area was their mandatory responsibility and this project would actually reduce or nullify the final treatment cost for them in addition to the saving the cost on transportation.
The results have shown that the waste has been providing for its own management. The project has shown positive cost benefit ratio.It is contemplated that it would improve after scaling up. 14) Environmental aspect of vegetable waste in biogas plant At present, vegetable waste disposal from the mandi is a problem for the Municipal Corporations, municipalities and village Panchayats. The established mode of treatment of the vegetable waste from the market is to collect the waste in the market, to transport it away from habitation and to compost in the compost pits. This mode has inbuilt problems of collection and transportation. As a result, this waste is inadequately collected. Heaps of such waste are spread all over the market place and remain uncollected for days together and start rotting at the same place. This creates very unhygienic conditions.Further, during collection and transportation process it gets mixed with nonbiodegradable waste, creating problems during treatment. Therefore, the ‘On site’ treatment of such waste in biogas plant will have multiple advantages. As the facility is established ‘On site’, the collection & transportation costs and related difficulties will be drastically reduced. The waste will be fully recycled. The energy output is very significant in view of the present energy crisis. As the process is totally enclosed, i.e. anaerobic, there will not be any aesthetic and odour problems. The process will be very safe and advisable from health point of view. The process will be environment friendly. ‘On site’ establishment of such a plant will considerably reduce the strain on municipal garbage treatment and management. 15) To sum up The disposal of mandi waste has been a persistent public health problem. If this waste is utilized for ‘On site’ biomethanation, it will generate energy and will be a convenient way to treat the waste which is otherwise a nuisance. The energy potential from this source is substantial. However, a convenient, easy to operate, easy to maintain, cost effective process technology needs to be developed to make this a profitable proposition. This way, the waste would pay for its own management. The present plant of APMC, Pune has shown that it is one such successful attempt. The pilot project to utilize vegetable market waste for biomethanation has been undertaken at the vegetable market yard managed by Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Gultekdi, Pune. The biogas plant is functioning very satisfactorily with output of approximately 80 Cu M of biogas per day per tonne of vegetable waste. --------------------------------A report on vegetable waste based Biomethanation plant established by Appa Patwardhan safai W Paryawaran Tantraniketan, Dehugaon, Tal. Haveli, Dist. Pune, Maharashtra, 412 109 INDIA at Gultekdi Market Yard at Pune, INDIA in the year 1992.