Amma canteen kitchens remaining starved of biogas
SAHAYA NOVINSTON LOBO @Chennai
Installed two years ago in what was touted as a cost-cutting measure, biogas kitchens in Amma canteens have failed to take off because enough waste could not be generated for the plants to run at full capacity.
According to a corporation official, a biogas plant with a capacity of 500 kg would, on an average, produce 20 kg of biogas, provided the plant runs at its full capacity. However, even after acquiring waste from private restaurants nearby in addition to the waste generated by the Amma canteens, corporation officials are unable to run the plants at full capacity on most days.
Many times, the biogas plants remain idle and we go back to cooking with LPG gas, said a cook at one of the canteens in the city.
Amma Unavagam staff claimed that the plants have been remaining idle for three days a week on an average mostly because they are unable to generate enough waste to run the plants and sometimes because the valve between gas chamber and cylinder is choked.
The biogas plants, built at a cost of `15 lakh each on an average, have a capacity of 350-1000 kg and have been installed in 25 Amma canteens in the city.
Moreover, workers said that they prefer LPG cylinders since cooking fooditems like dal was a time-consuming affair with biogas burners.
The flames are not as intense as LPG cylinders and so, the time taken to cook is longer, said an Amma Unavagam staff.
Corporation officials said that lack of waste segregation at the source contributed to the ineffectiveness of the biogas plants.
Only food waste can be processed in the plants. Even paper or other compostable material should not be mixed with it for the plants to function effectively. In order to completely segregate the food waste, the public should be motivated to segregate waste in their houses before handing it over, said a corporation official.
However, City Health Officer N A Senthilnathan, said that the corporation was now saving three fourths of the commercial LPG cylinders usually consumed, using the biogas plants.
For example at KB Dasan Road, in the place of using 20 commercial LPG cylinders per
month, we are now using only two, he said.
A corporation engineer added, The plant in the Amma Unavagam in Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Triplicane, for instance, is able to save six out of 100 LPG cylinders used every month.
Another corporation official said that all plants are functioning well and any complaints are resolved immediately.
Locations of the plant: Designedcapacity (in kg)
1. Kadappah road 1000
2. Muthumariamman Koil Street 1000
3. Venkateswaranagar 65
4. Sharma Nagar, 2nd Cross Street 500
5. CDH hospital 300
6. Cemetry road 750
7. Jawahar Nagar 1st circular 500
8. Loco Works road 500
9. New Ferrance road 500
10. East Avenue road 300
11. Pandurangapuram main road 85
12. Vellala Street 50
13. 7th main road 40
14. Muthumariamman Koil Street 40
15. Tamilar Nagar Amma Canteen 40
16. Kasthurbai Gandhi Hospital 1000
17. K B Dasan Road 1000
18. Kamaraj Street 700
19. Saidapet Burial Ground 700
20. Kodambakkam Salai 100
21. CIT 4th Cross 300
22. XI Arcot Road, Valasaravakkam 30
23. Bakthavatchalam Nagar 3rd main road,
24. Kamarajar Salai 750
25. Tambaram - Velachery main road,