Mumbai- the city of dreams- has massive amounts of waste produced daily. The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), along with Mahanagar gas limited, has proposed to utilise this waste productively by setting up a compressed biogas plant with a capacity to process about 1000 tons of wet waste daily.
Before diving into the key aspects and reasons of the proposal, let us first get a brief understanding of the working of a biogas purification plant.
Biogas is one form of renewable energy that is produced by breaking down organic material like agricultural waste, food waste and sewage without oxygen. The process is called anaerobic digestion and results in a mixture of gasses, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, with slight traces of hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Biogas is a sustainable and eco-friendly replacement for fossil fuels and can be used for various purposes, such as fuel for heating, electricity generation and transportation.
But raw biogas contains traces of H2S and other such gases that add a pungent smell. To get rid of this smell and extra gasses that can harm the environment, the biogas is then sent to a purification plant, where it is passed through a biogas scrubber. In a hydrogen sulfide scrubber, biogas is passed through an activated carbon bed where the hydrogen sulfide is adsorbed by the scrubbing media, leaving behind clean biogas that can be used as a fuel. Used scrubbing media can then be recycled or safely disposed of.
Taking inspiration from other cities, the BMC has decided to build a circular economy by recycling the massive amounts of wet waste produced in the city. As per the proposal, MGL will be responsible for the capital expenditure, while BMC will provide the land for the setup. The plant is proposed to recycle one-third of the wet waste produced in the city and is likely to start functioning in about a year.
The biggest challenge with this initiative staring at the face of BMC is segregating the dry and wet waste with 100% efficiency. To tackle this issue, they have presently allotted five vehicles per ward. The plan initially is to utilise the low-hanging rotten fruits and properly segregate wet waste from hotels, restaurants, and large housing societies that can be delivered to the plant.
To increase awareness and encourage societies to manage their waste correctly, BMC also announced a rebate in property taxes and awarded the societies with a ‘Go Green’ logo. This logo will be an honour to be displayed at the entrance of the societies.
Developing a compressed biogas plant in Mumbai is a significant step towards a sustainable future in India. It is inspiring to see the cities taking such bold steps towards sustainability and adoption of renewable sources of energy.
Here’s hoping this project will serve as a model for other cities worldwide to follow suit and work towards a sustainable future.