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Saturday, March 24, 2012

MADURAI: In an effort to tap green energy, a college in the rural outskirts of the city has come up with a biogas plant in its campus that uses human and kitchen waste to produce cooking gas. In collaboration with the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, Arul Anandar College at Karumathur near here successfully inaugurated the plant during the 42nd college day celebrations on Friday.

Principal Xavier Vedam said the biogas plant was the first of its kind in a college set up. "Along with various rural development activities taken up by the college, we thought of coming up with a biogas plant to use green energy from kitchen and human waste generated on the campus," he said. Sulabh International has been installing such plants in many parts of the country but were collaborating with a college for the first time, he added. "They contributed Rs 5 lakh of the Rs 9 lakh project. The plant became operational from February and we have observed that the monthly LPG usage has come down by 30%," Vedam said. "We will be happy to guide others who want to install a similar kind of biogas plant in their institutions," Vedam added.

"At present, we are using LPG cylinders to fire only the huge ovens used for cooking dosa, chapattis and use the gas from the biogas plant for cooking other things like vegetables, sambar etc. The LPG usage has come down significantly," Muthu, a hostel cook said.

Environ India, a Nagercoil based industry involved in setting up the biogas plant, installed the plant in the college. "The biogas plant uses anaerobic processes to produce methane from kitchen and human waste which is then used for cooking purposes. Organic waste management is a concern and if not disposed properly. Hence, setting up a biogas plant can be very useful for even a small household. The biogas plant made of FRP (fibre reinforced plastic) requires zero maintenance and is leakage-free unlike the conventional iron domes used earlier," Selva Baskar of Environ India said.

"The installation charges start from Rs 10,000 onwards and every day half a kg of biogas will be produced from the small household plant. For a month, it will be equivalent to an LPG cylinder of 14.5 kgs. Biogas plants are environment- friendly. St Xavier's college at Palayamkottai has also installed a small electrical unit of 5 kv using the biogas," Baskar added.


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