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The Madras Day Ideas for a Better Chennai

Solar Powered Compactors for Efficient Waste Collection & Source Segregation for Generating Power through Organic Waste By, Rajesh K, Blogger (Renewable Energy in India) -


Limited waste carrying capacity of dustbins (street-level). Overflowing waste from the dustbins because of waste collections not being on-time Organic waste, when mixed with inorganic waste can pollute the land and affect groundwater Not enough power Will we ever have enough electricity?

Solar Powered Compactors

A solar-powered compactor can crush the waste, compress it and create space for more trash.

Solar Powered Compactors

For compressing waste, energy is required and that is obtained from the attached solar panel (solar panels have an average life of 25 years). Automatic compression of waste based on input from sensors. Compactors increase waste collection capacity by 5-6 times. Two units, one for organic waste & other for general waste will encourage source segregation. Organic waste is not compressed.

Smart Communications Module

By adding a smart communications module to the solar powered compactors, We can enable the dustbin to send an SMS to a central monitoring system when it is almost full (GSM/CDMA network). Central computer-based Monitoring system This ensures that waste-collection workers can reach the dustbins on time and visit only those that are about to become full saving fuel.


Each unit costs around $3000 USD (Source: BusinessWeek, USA) ~ Rs. 1,80,000 (approx). Importing them as such may not be feasible We need to develop our own compactors suitable for Indian requirements, volumes and sizes. Simple technology Can be indigeneously designed and manufactured at lower costs. BigBelly Solar is the pioneer in manufacturing Solar Powered Compactors in the US. This vendor can be engaged for technology-transfer.


The compactors/solar panels maybe damaged or stolen They are on the road! Maintenance will be required to ensure effective functioning of the compactors otherwise, they'll be used like normal dustbins. High initial cost. While this system has been working well in developed countries, developing countries have not experimented much with it (mainly due to cost limitations).

Generating Power using Biogas Plants

First Step: Compulsary Source Segregation. Two Dustbins on the street (one for organic waste and another for general waste). Two Dustbins at home (one exclusively for organic waste, to make sure it is collected separately).

Quarter Tonne Biogas Plant at Pammal, Near Chennai

Using food-waste, this Quarter Tonne Biogas plant at Pammal generates 45 units/kWh of electricity every day (5 KW capacity) and powers 80 street lamps. Project executed by BIOTECH India, Trivandrum.

Waste is Money!
Many forms of general waste can be recycled. * In Sholingur (Vellore District), solid waste is separated into 27 materials like plastic, metal scrap, footwear, glass/bottles, paper, electronics, etc and are sold for recycling.

* E-Waste: From 1-Tonne of PCBs (found in most electronic items like cell phones/computers), 150 grams of Gold, 200-300 Kg of Copper, Platinum & other precious metals can be extracted.