Now biogas from human waste may cook food, light homes!


New Delhi : It may sound unpalatable, but it is true – a voluntary agency in Delhi has developed technology to produce biogas from human waste, which it says can help in cooking food and lighting up homes.
Sulabh International, an NGO working in the field of sanitation in India, Friday said that toilets in public places would be a good source to generate biogas.

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“We just connect the human waste pit to a separate concrete pit (digester) and add cow dung to it. The cow dung produces a particular bacteria which helps the production of biogas,” said P.K. Jha, director general of Sulabh International Academy and Environmental Sanitation.

“Initially it takes nearly 24 days to convert human excreta into biogas and after that you get a regular flow of biogas,” Jha said.

The biogas thus produced is stored in inbuilt liquid displacement chambers from where it is connected to kitchens.

B. Pathak, founder of Sulabh, said that they could produce electricity by using a generator as well.

He said a public convenience visited by about 2,000 people per day would produce approximately 60 cubic metres of biogas.

“The most efficient use of biogas is for cooking. This gas burns with a blue flame and without any odour. It can also help a house get illuminated through biogas mantle lamps,” Pathak told reporters.

Pathak said his organisation had developed a sample technology called Sulabh Effluent Treatment to treat effluent from biogas plants.

The collected wastewater from the human excreta-run biogas plants is filtered through sand and activated charcoal and then exposed to ultra violet rays.

“The treated water is colourless, odourless and pathogen free. Its bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) is less than 10 mg per litre, which is quite safe for nurturing fish, irrigation and horticulture,” Pathak said.

“This system of waste water treatment can also be used to overcome the problem of waste water pollution in Ganga and Yamuna rivers to a certain extent.”

Pathak said this technology could be used for disposal of waste matter and to produce electricity in high-rise buildings, public toilets and housing colonies. The treated water can be used for gardening and flushing too.