Electricity from Bio-Degradable Waste

Hand in Hand’s waste-to-energy project at Mamallapuram has been chosen by BBC’s Down to Business World Challenge Series for promoting sustainable livelihoods and enterprise creation across the world. The project chosen from nearly 640 nominations from across the world is among the final 12 shortlisted for the award and is the only one from India, for promoting green business and working with impoverished communities.

The BBC World Challenge competition for sustainable businesses aims to provide practical help for small and medium sized enterprises throughout the world, with a special emphasis on turning sustainable ideas form niche business into mainstream enterprises.

The winner of the World Challenge will receive a grant of US$20,000 to invest and help develop their project even further, with two runners up eligible for grants of US$10,000 each.

BBC will run a special program series on each of the chosen NGOs and their projects and a world-wide poll will be conducted by the BBC and Newsweek magazine. Some of the other projects chosen include Shunran No Sato from Japan, Snow Leopard Enterprises from Mongolia, Recycla from Chile and Shiv Forestry from Nepal.

Hand in Hand’s Intervention at Mamallapuram SWM project
Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram, is a coastal town in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. Located 50 kms south of Chennai, it lies on the Coromandel Coast facing the Bay of Bengal.

Mamallapuram is a 7th century port city and was the 2nd capital of the Pallava dynasty who ruled Kancheepuram between the 3rd century to the 9th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is home to some of the most magnificent temples and other historic monuments built between the 7th and 9th centuries, including the Shore Temple.

A very popular tourist destination, the town attracts thousands of national and international tourists every year. It has a population of nearly 15,000 and nearly 30,000 people visit the town every day.

Hand in Hand’s intervention: Hand in Hand initiated its Solid Waste Management project at Mamallapuram in January 2008. Initially, the project was started in one ward covering 380 households and with 3 ‘green friends’ (people engaged in door to door collection, segregation and processing of waste). The project was then expanded to 10 wards in June 2010 and now covers nearly 3600 households including the small businesses in the town. On an average nearly 4 metric tonnes of waste is collected out of which nearly 60% is processed and thereby diverted from the dump yard. The food waste is converted to vermi-compost in a compost park set up exclusively for the purpose. Recyclable wastes are segregated and sold to respective recyclers.

Ban of disposable plastics: In addition to the waste management initiative in the town, Hand in Hand also initiated the idea of banning disposable plastics in Mamallapuram along with the town panchayat. The ban came into effect from the 10th of February 2011 with all the stakeholders of the town panchayat extending their support for the ban. Shops and other small enterprises have replaced plastic bags with net bags and paper cups have replaced plastic ones at tea stalls and small hotels since then.

Bio-methanation plant: With the objective of achieving sustainable development through environment friendly technologies and practices, Hand in Hand in association with the Mamallapuram Town Panchayat has also installed a bio-methanation plant to efficiently manage bio-degradable waste, especially food waste, generated by the hotels in Mamallapuram. On an average 3 MT of food waste is generated per day from the hotels in Mamallapuram.

A 100 cu.m bio-methanation plant with a capacity of handling 500 to 800 Kgs of food waste every day has been installed and the food waste converted to methane which is in turn converted to electricity. A 12.5 KVA generator, supplied by Kirloskar and which runs exclusively on bio-gas has also been installed. The generator has a capacity of producing electricity at 10 KW per hour.

Prior to the waste management initiative and installation of the bio-methanation pant, tons of food waste was sent to the dump yard every day. But now, a sustainable, environment friendly solution has been provided to prevent the air and water pollution caused by dumping the food waste. The project also provides sustainable employment opportunity to a handful of underprivileged men and women.

The facility at Mamallapuram is also a model to demonstrate the reduced dependency on conventional energy sources as the entire waste management campus uses electricity generated by the plant. The biogas plant is also expected to serve as demonstration unit for the other local bodies to replicate for resource recovery and proper management of organic waste, particularly food waste.

The project is of a great benefit to the environment, to the local community and to the larger population of enthusiastic tourists who pour in from all over the world to the historic town.

Courtesy: Hand In Hand

Posted on November 12, 2011, in Ecological Restoration in Chennai and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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