Biogas extraction system by Abhishek Verma

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Abhishek Verma ( Mechanical Engineer ) belongs to Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He developed a system to extract Biogas (Methane) using the sewage waste flow in an open flowing sewage drain. He developed a Sewage Biogas Extraction Device for an Open Flowing Sewage Drain with the facility to store it at the primary location. The complete system can be installed into the sewage drain without blocking the waste flow. This low-cost system works for a life of a minimum of 10 years with almost negligible maintenance. Every single unit can produce up to 125 liters of Biogas per day. The system uses no electricity during operations.

PM Narendra Modi’s speech was on the occasion of World Bio-Fuel Day, 10 August 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. During his speech, he narrated a story of a Tea stall proprietor and his technique of using sewage gas as a fuel that had left him impressed. PM said that he had read about this story in a newspaper. The PM mention was encouraging and inspiring to me. It created awareness about biogas among common men. I am very happy and thankful to the Prime Minister for encouraging innovative ideas and innovations.

Every year India generates a staggering 1.7 million tonnes of fecal waste. Around 70% of sewage waste in Indian cities, flow into open drains before going to a sewage treatment plant or disposed of directly into rivers & lakes. Sewage gas primarily contains Methane, which escapes into the atmosphere results in air pollution, and contributes to the greenhouse effect. The global warming potential of Methane gas is 28 percent more when compared to carbon dioxide. By using this sewage gas as Biogas, it’s a sustainable solution for energy needs while protecting the environment.

How did you get the idea of using sewage gas as a fuel?
During my College days, Sewage Gas was the Biggest Problem for everyone around. A big open sewage drain known as Surya Nagar drain flowed beside my student hostel. After examining the Sewage Gas at IIT Delhi, I found out that it contains Methane, which is an Inflammable Gas. It gave me an idea and soon I shifted my focus on using Sewage gas as a fuel evolving from open flowing sewage drain. I aimed to create a system that works without electricity, fulfilling the need with low investments, low-maintenance, and easy-to-install. After a few attempts, I was able to successfully develop a lucrative system, which can effectively trap and store sewage gas without blocking the flow in the open sewage drain.

Tell us your innovation story?
The first time in June 2014, I demonstrated the prototype to Shiv Prasad, the proprietor of a tea stall near my college. He was using the sewage biogas for heating purposes. The complete setup was installed into the sewage drain. The system was working fine and left everyone amazed. The innovative solution was also praised by the newspaper Dainik Bhasker in an article on 29 Jun 2014. In the following years, I have developed various other devices like a biogas stove which works at low pressure with flame regulation, tetra pack for biogas storage and a cheap sewage biogas filtration system.

How does your innovation work?
It is very simple and easy to use. After the installation of the system into the sewage drain. The storage unit stores the biogas and began to rise in the drain, as the pressure inside the storage unit increased. The biogas is then extracted from the storage unit with the help of pipes to the desired location as per the requirement.

What is the cost of installation?
The cost of installation varies with the scale of implementation. Every single unit 200 Litre. the system can be installed for around Rs 5000.

What makes sewage gas inflammable?
The presence of Methane gas in Sewage gas above 40% makes it inflammable.

What are the benefits of your innovation?
With a nominal one-time investment, the complete setup can be installed and works for a life of a minimum of 10 years with almost negligible maintenance. Sewage biogas can be used as fuel for the heating purpose to replace conventional fuels like coal, charcoal, and expensive LPG gas. It’s a safer and smarter solution for waste to energy.

Did you install the systems anywhere?
I have installed the system at various places, Ramu Tea Stall is one of them. I teach people to build their low-cost Bio-Fuel extraction system for energy needs. I have also worked with various NGOs to help them out with biogas solutions that too free of cost.

Tell us other applications of sewage gas?
It can be used for any heating purpose, such as cooking. Apart from that on purification & enrichment the gas termed as CBG can be used as a substitute for CNG to fuel automobile and electricity generation.

How did your engineering skills help this innovation in its success?
Basically to innovate something, requires a dynamic knowledge skillset and a vision to convert an idea into reality. The knowledge you gain during your curriculum contributes to success throughout life. I used the basics of Mechanical Engineering like concepts of Physics and fluid mechanics to develop this innovation.

What are your future goals?
As a Social Entrepreneur, my vision is to establish an organization that will create affordable innovations in the Waste and Renewable energy sector. Simultaneously for grassroots innovators, I will create a platform that allows them to spread their technology to people in India. I am committed to providing a safer, smarter, and sustainable solution to energy needs while protecting the environment

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