Cow dung by day, methane by night
Without posing a threat to the ecosystem, a pilot project of bio-gas plant in Karachi's Bhains colony converts tonnes of manure into gas and electricity. Is the government listening?
By Rabia Ali
Muhammad Ibrahim, 65, a resident of Lath Village, located in Bhains Colony, hangs his head in despair as he surveys the scene outside his house, situated next to the sea.
Every day, tons of cow dung mixed with chemicals and pesticides make their way into the sea, polluting both the water and all that surrounds it. Ibrahim, who is a fisherman by profession, says he cannot recall when he last fished in these waters as the marine life has been dead for a while now. "I am now worried about my children and livestock who are surrounded by this *****."
Interestingly enough, the answer to Ibrahim's problems lies a few kilometers away in the Shaukat Mukhtar Farm, Bhains Colony No 12. Here, a bio-gas plant functions silently, and converts four tonnes of manure to methane gas every day. This, in turn, produces 600 units of electricity and 200 cubic meters of gas.
The pilot project, which is the first of its kind in the country, may well change the living conditions in Bhains Colony, one of the largest cattle colonies in the region, housing over 400,000 cattle heads.
According to the project consultant, Naseem Aziz, "The plant was installed in the farm some six months ago by a British Company, HiRAD PLC. The gas produced by the plant is used to heat up around four houses of the farmers, dwelling in the locality. The same bio-gas is also used to produce electricity through a generator."
HiRAD says its system is quick, converting the manure produced in a day into power. It is typically installed to the farm's existing storage facilities with minimal disruption. It does not require an energy crop or external waste streams and its outputs all have a value.
The gas is used to produce electricity, the solid waste is composted and used as a soil treatment, and the liquid is a premium fertiliser, claims the company.
Giving details about the operation of the plant, Aziz explained that "the pump of the plant first mixes the cow dung with water. After the mixture is prepared, the solid waste is separated, and is later on used in the production of fertilisers. The dung and water mixture is then forwarded to a main reactor, where bacteria (aerobic digester) present in the dung produces methane when it is heated at 37`C. This very methane is then used to produce gas and electricity."
Shakeel Nasir, the man in charge of the operations, concurs. "The amount of methane produced by this method is 70.1 per cent whereas carbon dioxide 30 per cent." Nasir said that his is the only company in the country that produces methane in such large quantities. The farm utilizes the waste of 300-350 animals, efficiently and effectively, without posing a threat to the eco-system.
The company hopes to replicate this system with the 1,200 cattle pens and farms that are located in this colony. These farms simply dump around 8,000 tons of cow dung into open drains every day. Since no proper system prevails in the colony for disposal, the dung eventually reaches the Arabian Sea.
The potential of using this manure can be gauged from the dung lagoon located downstream of the farms where bacteria present in the dung produces methane under the open skies. No reactor is needed to provide heat to the bacteria, as the sun's heat is enough.
The question now is whether or not the project will be able to take off. Residents of the area, however, cannot wait for this to happen. "Due to the presence of the cow dung, our people have lost their livelihoods. Boats have rotted, fish in the nearby seas have died, the foul odour has infiltrated our environment and the area has been infested with flies and other insects," says Iqbal, a resident of Lath Village.
Though Iqbal and his community people have appealed to the government several times, there has been complete silence from the other end. With 2009 being declared as the Year of the Environment, several people's hopes are pinned on those with power – that they may be able to turn the tide for those living in Lath Village.
Kolachi, NOS, The News International
We had a biogas thing in my village house. Man you cant go near it. It used to STINK! But, its a good substitute in rural areas. This combined with solar panels goes a long way.
To see the efficiency of this...
Find the formula for how much watts of electricity one tonne of dung can create?
How much dung, estimated, is produced in Pakistan yearly?
(Divide into percentages of 10 - 50% of the electric is the best you can hope for)
What is the energy shortfall for the next five years?
And finally, the costs and logistics associated.
Bio-waste power plant at Fatehabad mooted
Tribune News Service
Fatehabad, December 23
Option Energy Private Limited, a company into bio-waste- based power production, is planning to set up an organic waste-based plant to produce power and Bio-Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), based on US technology, at Fatehabad soon.
Abhey Sinha, Managing Director, and Mrinal ****** and Rajiv Kumar, directors of the company, who were in the town today, surveyed various sites, and met managements of various “gaushalas” for the project. The plant would use cow dung and food waste for the production of power and Bio-CNG.
“The company plans to set up such plants in several other towns and one at Hansi in Hisar is at an advanced stage,” said Sinha.
They also met the Deputy Commissioner CG Rajini Kaanthan to seek his cooperation in the official clearances for the projects.
“The plant requires 180 to 200 tons of cow dung for production of 1 MW of power. But in this area we plan to set up a smaller plant that will produce 125 KW of electricity using 20 to 24 tons of cow dung,” said Sinha.
Two “gaushalas” of the district would easily meet this requirement, he added.
“The US technology, being already used there by a firm, Andigens, produces methane in a very short span of time as compared to the technologies being used in Germany and some other countries,” Sinha claimed.
He maintained that the lower the retention time of methane the better the technology and in their case the retention time is five days as compared to 20 days in the other technology.
For marketing of electricity, the company plans to approach the power utilities of Haryana, who normally purchase power only if the production is 1MW or more.
In case the company is not able to convince the power utilities to purchase lesser quantities of power, they would go for production of Bio-CNG. Sinha said the unit would produce no waste and the only byproduct was bio-fertilizer, which was again an asset.
The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Business
Now With Also Read Post 17
Do Simple Mathematics
8000 Tons Of Cow Dung per Day Means 2920000 per Year.If 1 MW Needs 200 Tons Of Cow Dung At The Most This Becomes Annual Power Generation Capacity of 2920000/200=14600 MW of Electricity per Year
Last edited by Samlee; 12-27-2012 at 12:58 PM.
Blast from the past! From an oldie (me!).
Back in the 80's Pakistan, like now, had electricity crises. Well, go back even further--my childhood in the 70's--we had power crises and 'load sheddings'. We used to use the old fashioned oil (or was it kerosene?) lamps, painstakingly raise the glass and light the thing; okay, this was in the 70's.
Anyway, so brilliant Zia ul Haq decided to solve the energy crises by promoting use of cow dung to solve the power crises in the 80's. So we were bombarded with these govt. sponsored tv commercials, which were quite melodious, and went like this:
Aao Kuch Qom ki Khatir
Aao kuch Apni Khatir
Shehro key har goshe mein, fazil bulb bojhana hey
Gao, gao her ghar mein, biogas jalana hey
Tel, diesel, or petrol
Kharch honein se hamein bachana hein
(Something like that).
Roughly translated to:
Let's do it partly for our own sake
Let's do it partly for the country
In every part of the cities, turn off extra bulbs
In every house of every village use biogas
oil, diesel and patrol
need to be preserved from usage.
Nothing came out of that one biogas initiative. Zia could hang, flog people in public. He had the absolute power, backed by the majority of the international community but he didn't have the vision to create dams or other solutions.
Mullah minds are never good in modern world.
But I hope biogas version 2 in Pakistan is better than Zia's time.
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