A few days ago, India witnessed the most significant hike in the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders in six years. The price has been increased by Rs 144.5 by state-run oil marketing companies.
According to Indian Oil, which supplies 30 lakh Indane cylinders per day, a 14.2 kg cylinder will now cost Rs 858.5. In Mumbai, the cost of the cylinder has gone up by Rs 145, while Kolkata and Chennai have increased it by Rs 149 and Rs 147 respectively.
To avoid overspending on LPG cylinders, you can opt for an alternative which is not only cheaper but also safer and environment-friendly–a biogas plant.
Biogas is a mixture of oxygen, methane, and carbon dioxide produced from organic, kitchen, green and/or food waste.
Words by Expert
The Better India spoke to Harshavardhan Erra, founder of Peepal Waste Managers, to understand the difference between LPG and biogas.
“The butane gas released by LPG is heavier than air, and hence it is explosive. Meanwhile, the methane gas generated from organic waste through bio-digester is lighter than air and is safe from any explosions,” he says.
He emphasises the environmental benefits saying, “The methane gas released from wet garbage is responsible for ozone depletion. By diverting it for cooking purposes, we can do a huge favour to the environment.”
Peepal Waste Managers is a management solution company that helps people cut down on their cooking costs by 80 per cent by treating waste in bio-digesters.
While digesters can be installed at the individual household level, these require at least five kilos of waste to provide cooking gas for a family of four. So, Erra recommends installing a community plant.
An average biogas plant will produce 300 grams of LPG when five kilos of organic waste is fed to the digester.
However, an average household in India does not generate more than half a kilo of wet waste per day.
“If there are 500 households in a community and each household generates half a kilo of waste daily, the cost of setting up the biogas plant would be around Rs 25 lakh. The returns on this investment can be achieved in less than three years,” says Erra.
Choosing a Biodigester & Area
Choose a biodigester. Depending on the capacity and materials that come with the plant, the price can vary from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25 lakh. Erra recommends investing in a portable biodigester.
As for the area, the complex should have 50×50 square feet space; and if its a plug-in model, then a 15-square foot area. It can be installed on the terrace or at the back of the complex.
Things That Come With the Biodigester
- Digester tank: Organic waste is deposited in the tank where stored microorganisms will break down the matter and release methane.
- Gas Collector: The gas thus produced is collected in this tank.
- Outlet: The slurry drains out through the outlet pipe and is collected in a diluted form to be used as a fertiliser for plants.
- Pipeline: The biogas plant is pipelined to the kitchen to be used as a cooking fuel, replacing LPG.
Once the biodigester is fed, it takes 24 hours to generate the gas.
Labour, segregation, chopping of waste, and feeding the digester takes up to two hours every day.
Know more about the biodigesters at peepalwastemanagers.com
Featured image source: Flickr
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)