Let us not stop innovating and approach waste processing technologies from 360 Degree view

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Let us not stop innovating and approach waste processing technologies from 360 Degree view

Project viability, technology and innovation go hand in hand.

A microbiology researcher at heart who loves being in a laboratory, I ended up in a technology driven organisation developing AD (Biogas) system over a period of 15 years in India. I realised that though AD system has been pioneered by many but the potential it has still needs to be unlocked.

This potential needs to be unlocked not only through innovations in the microbiology front but mechanical and electrical as well. Biogas plant or any waste processing plant for that matter, is a balance between chemistry, biology & mechanical/electrical Engineering.

Few years back when I had organised a program in Delhi on “Managing waste through innovations” and a participant asked one of the fellow speakers “What is there to innovate in a biogas system, you can only enhance the yield of biogas generated by introducing enzymes or cultures”. He was of the opinion that not much can be done to improve biogas projects and there viability, and for that matter any technology is not viable for processing waste.

A very skeptical thought but not far from reality

I may have forgotten the incident, but it did etch on my sub-conscious mind and knowing or unknowingly, I started to see the technological gaps from a 360 degree view. I pushed the team to find solutions for the identified gaps not only for us but that can be beneficial for the sector growth. Many like me, saw this as an opportunity and started to venture into innovation and problem solving. And over the past two-three years, the sector has seen many developments, for example –

  1. Grid connectivity of decentralised biogas plant through the introduction of the net-metering concept. Resulted in non-requirement of additional infrastructure for use of electricity.
  2. Compost dewatering and curing mechanism. Ensured dry-compost as per FCO norms at decentralised projects. Resulting in avoidance of liquid manure/compost.
  3. The CBG purification systems developed indigenously.
  4. Mechanised system for segregation of mixed waste upto 95%-98% organic faction.
  5. Biogas based cold storage : A reality in the making with the huge market potential for the agriculture and FMCG sector.

But, there is still a need which cannot be solved alone but through collaborations between solution providers, Front-end, Back-end component suppliers and research institutes. For example –

  1. There is a scope for reduction in energy losses in grid connectivity systems below 10% for decentralised systems.
  2. There is a scope to increase in power conversion factor for IC engine, while using biogas for generation of power and reduction in frequency variation. This is specifically for engines with lower capacities.
  3. BMP data of individual and mixed feed stocks (Organic fraction) for different AD processes available.

Well, these are only a few to name and there are many more. Any sector thrives, if it is technically, financially and environmentally viable. For that you need real data, ground level data and continous innovations to improve upon the shortcomings based on the very same.

Whether you are a researcher or a project
developer or an investor or an end-user, let us
not stop innovating or running away from
challenges faced in the waste sector. The
Indian waste sector has just begun its journey
to success and being less dependent on
technologies from outside, we need to embrace
it and keep improving our technologies from
360-degree view.

Alpha Carbon.


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