The green spherical domes may resemble a nuclear power plant. But this power plant in Tamil Nadu's Namakkal district uses 300 tonnes of poultry waste to produce 4 MW of electricity every day.
It's a custom-built technology evolved over the years. First, the plant produces methane by fermenting the poultry waste through a process called bio-methanation. The gas is used to run turbines which generate power. The supply is connected to the state electricity grid.
Touted to be the first of its kind, officials at Subashri Bio Energies say around 100 MW power could be generated using the 6000 tonnes of poultry litter available every day in five poultry states.
D Salai Sivaprakasam, Executive Director, says, "With little modification, this technology could be replicated in places where biodegradable waste is available, like the food processing industry. Power can be generated even by collecting all food wastes in cities."
Namakkal alone generates around 3,000 tonnes of poultry litter every day. Since they pollute air and groundwater, the project has come as a welcome relief for local people.
Muthusamy, a poultry farm owner says, "The project if expanded could completely solve the waste disposal problem in our district in a big way. What used to be literally waste is now a source of revenue for us. We get Rs. 12,000 for every ten tonnes of the waste."
There's more than just clean energy. The plant also converts the poultry waste into organic manure certified by government agricultural agencies. This saves foreign exchange as well.
Meivazhi S Durairaju, Managing Director, says, "We can produce 2000 tonnes of high nutrient organic manure and at least one lakh litres of liquid fertilizer every day which is the next big in thing in agriculture. We spend millions of foreign exchange in importing these."
The plant has drawn international attention with a US company inviting it for a possible joint venture, sources said.Tamil Nadu suffers from a shortage of around 4000 MW power which result in crippling power cuts in some parts of the state. Any help in power production, however small, is welcome here.