IIT-Delhi provides newer methods to recycle farm waste
With Punjab known as the India's breadbasket, it contributes to around 20% of the wheat produced in the country. The massive amounts of production, however, lead to pollution and smoke left over after burning the discarded farm waste. An IIT-Delhi study established a new method to use 100% of paddy straw to generate bio-gas and power.
What is farm waste?
Farm waste is defined as any material that is discarded by the farm owner, which could include animal faeces and urine, milk and other chemicals like pesticides. Some farmers obtain animal waste and mix it with water to form slurry, which is used as manure.
Adverse effects of farm waste
Farm waste increases pollution from farms , with high cases of water pollution being reported from using manure and fertilizers on farms. It even contributes to acid rain and disrupts the ecosystem. The slurry that farmers use is pitched to be more polluting that sewage. Once slurry slips into water, it can poison fish, increase toxic algae and causes parasitic infections on water animals.
What is stubble burning?
Stubble burning refers to the burning of wheat grains and straw that has been left over. This enables farmers to clear the paddy fields for the next planting season. This causes heavy smoke and pollution in the areas close to the farm.
Bio- gas power plant in Punjab
After using 100% of paddy straw from fields, nearly 4,000 cubic metres per day of bio-gas from 10 tonnes of straw were generated. This bio-gas in turn helps generate 1MW of power. All this is supported by Asia's first bio-gas based power plant in Fazilka, Punjab. This plant was started in December'11, with the help of the Punjab government and the assistance of IIT-Delhi.
Harnessing greater energy to combat rising pollution
The present level of utilization at Fazilka has shown a saving of 120 gigaJoules per day energy which otherwise would have been released to the atmosphere by direct combustion along with the release of enormous pollutants," said Professor V K Vijay of IIT-Delhi.