Biogas – Fuel for Food

~Ankit Mittal with Inputs from Samarth Kudalkar

The privatization of the hostel mess facilities has definitely started delivering on its promises in terms of freedom of choice to the students, ease of management to the institute authorities or better deals to the mess contractors. Apart from these, earth club has observed a sublime benefit of the privatization of messes, in the students’ community.

It has not only granted them the freedom of choice, but also the realization of responsibility.

And the students have received them very well by thinking & acting about the mess issues like hygiene, accountability and transparency. One of such major students’ concerns is to reduce the monthly mess bills by employing Biomass plants in hostels.

Currently Hostel-7 has taken up the task to set up a Biogas plant which would utilize the kitchen waste to produce Biogas and replace the LPG as the cooking fuel, thereby saving the expenses on the cooking fuel.

In this regard, a company providing waste management solutions was consulted. They have designed a Biogas plant which uses waste food and other bio-degradable wastes as feedstock to produce Biogas. On a rough estimate a 40 m3 plant consuming 200 kg of waste per day would produce biogas that would be sufficient to replace 17 kg of equivalent LPG per day. The biogas produced will be sold to the private contractor of the Hostel Mess to recover the initial capital cost incurred. The cost of the plant will be approx. Rs. 500,000. Therefore the payback period will be around 2 years since its installation. (Price of LPG used per day-Rs 800/- approx).

The H-7 students have identified couple of challenges that could impinge this project & one of most prominent is handling the slurry—the left over—generated during the biogas generation process. One solution could be, since the slurry contains high amount of NPK, it can be used as a fertilizer. Also the current stoves have to be studied for their compatibility with the biogas fuel. The availability of water can be yet another issue since the Biomass process requires a large amount of water to the tune of almost 12 liters per kg waste.

Ankit is an active member of Earth Club and Samarth is Warden Nominee of Hostel 7, people having suggestions or interested to work with them can write to

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September 27, 2009. Tags: , , . Project. 2 comments.