Hyderabad: Authorities at Bowenpally vegetable market here were elated on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned their innovative project to convert vegetable waste into electricity and bio-fuel in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki baat’.
“It’s a great news and encouragement for us. We feel proud on the innovative effort finding mention in the speech by honourable Prime Minister,” Bowenpally Agriculture Market secretary Lokineni Srinivas told IANS.
The Prime Minister praised the market for producing 500 units of electricity and 30 kg of bio-fuel from 10 tonnes of vegetable waste generated there every day.
“We are happy that PM has talked about our project. It’s a proud moment for the marketing department,” Padma Harsha, Regional Deputy Director, Marketing, told IANS.
“The plant was started in phased manner and now it has started full-fledged operations,” said Harsha, who was secretary of Bowenpally Market when the project was initiated.
“It was nice to learn about how a local sabzi mandi In Hyderabad’s Bowenpally is functioning responsibly. We have observed that in sabzi mandis, due to multiple reasons, vegetables rot spreading unhygienic conditions. However, the Bowenpally Mandi decided that the left over vegetable will not be allowed to rot. Traders at the mandi decided to produce electricity out of it,” Modi said in his speech.
“You may not have heard about electricity being produced out of the waste vegetables. This is the power of innovation. At Bowenpally Sabzi Mandi, what was earlier waste is now being turned into wealth. This is the journey of turning garbage into gold,” he added.
He pointed out that almost 10 tonnes of waste generated at the market every day is collected in the plant.
“From this plant, 500 units of electricity is produced everyday and apart from this, about 30 kg of bio-fuel is also generated. This electricity is illuminating the mandi and the bio-fuel is used in the mandi’s canteen for cooking.”
Bowenpally Agriculture Market is the first agriculture market in Telangana to launch the innovative project.
Srinivas said while vegetable waste to electricity plant started functioning six months ago on trial basis, the bio-fuel production started a month ago.
The official pointed out that the electricity generated at the plant is used to light up over 100 streetlights, 170 stalls, an administrative building and the water supply network.
The market’s daily requirement of electricity is 800-900 units. “With 500 units now being generated from the waste management plant our monthly electricity bill has come down to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 3.5 lakh earlier.”
The market works under the agricultural marketing department of Telangana. Spread over 23 acres, Bowenpally market in Secunderabad Cantonment is one of the biggest markets in the state.
Every day, vegetables in about 400-500 trucks arrive at the market from various parts of Telangana and neighbouring states.
Before the launch of the plant, the market authorities used to dump the waste in some landfills nearby.
Designed by the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) the plant has been set up at a cost of Rs 2 crore. It is funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Bowenpally Market.
Srinivas recalled that the initiative for the project came from B. Janardhan Reddy, Commissioner of Agriculture and Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and G. Lakshmi Bai, Director of Agricultural Marketing.
The plant started with one tonne and now it has gone up to 10 tonnes.
Explaining the functioning of the plant, Srinivas said vegetable waste is first put on conveyor belts that carry the waste to shredders. The shredded waste is converted into a slurry and is put into large pits for anaerobic digestion. The organic waste is thus converted into biofuel, which in turn is converted into electricity.