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Techie builds biofuel plant, makes home free of LPG

If you panic on the considered operating out of fuel, you'll be able to take a leaf out of Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe's ebook and think about lowering your dependence on LPG refills.

For Sahasrabuddhe, an engineer by coaching from IIT-Bombay, has been turning wet waste into biofuel - all in a bid to be free from LPG. He has already made his folks "LPG-free" by putting in biofuel vegetation at their bungalow. Now, he wants to copy the same at his Pimpri house.

"I want the LPG cylinder that I had replaced on January 14 to be my last. This cylinder will last two months, so I have as much time to make the transition to biogas," he said.

Sahasrabuddhe (34) has designed a biofuel plant referred to as Vaayu. The plant breaks down organic waste and converts it into methane fuel or biofuel. The wet waste is sourced from his neighbours.

"Basically, Vaayu is a waste management solution that I had designed. I have been working on this and the process started around two years ago. Largely, this is based on understanding and development. After realising its sustainability impact, we started installing it in other places as well," he said.

One of the first makes an attempt at putting in the unit was once at his folks' bungalow in Swargate. "They are LPG-free now. We source wet waste from nearby hotels. I have a digestor set-up with a 15-kg capacity installed there. In addition, there are two digesters of 7.5kg each," said Sahassrabudhe, who works at a personal firm in Chinchwad. Clearly, one man's trash is another man's treasure!

Explaining how the process works, he said, the wet waste is digested and liquid slurry which comes out is used as manure. "Every day, some liquid comes out. What you put in is the food and the water content of the food will remain as water. Food content will almost completely get converted to gas. The only part that doesn't get digested, and therefore converted, is the fibrous part in the food and bones, egg shells etc. that is serviced once in six months. My device has the facility to do the servicing very easily, what comes out is material that is fibrous and goes back into the garden," Sahasrabuddhe said.

About the biogas mechanism, he said it's measured in litre. "Around 1,000 litres of gas a day will be sufficient for a family of five to do all the cooking. So, this can come from 7-10kg of food waste," he said.

Sahasrabuddhe remains just about his firm in Pimpri. "When I shifted to a flat close to my office in Pimpri, I used to manage my own waste. I have an 8kg set-up on the balcony of my flat with four digesters of 2kg each. I have designed two models - one a 2kg per day, which I have set up here, and the other, 7.5kg a day, which is at my parents' house. Initially, I only had the 2kg model."

At first, he amassed waste from a woman staying reverse his space and the native vegetable dealer. "So, I did two more digesters of 2kg each. I'm in a transition phase right now," he said.

His purpose is to run the biogas plant on a bigger scale. "We have had around 130 installations so far. Technologically, it's not a big thing, but it is challenging. Getting all the building residents to say okay to segregation of waste, and using it for biogas is still in process," he said.

Sahasrabuddhe is now seeking to extend his endeavour to the waste collectors' outfit - forged waste assortment and handling (SWaCH).

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