Leftover food from luxury hotels that was dumped in landfills is now being diverted to specially-designed gas plants. Awareness is building among hoteliers following an order from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in January to use food waste for composting or biomethanation on their premises. And a Bengaluru-based waste-to-energy firm, GPS Renewables, is helping hotels turn their kitchen waste into cooking gas.
Biourja Waste to Energy Suite The GPS Biourja system is a high rate dry anaerobic digestion system. It digests biowaste and produces clean bioCNG (biogas which contains high percentage of methane). The gas can be directly used for cooking and thermal applications. It can also be used with a gas engine for power generation. The post digested liquid is used as a fertilizer.
Taj Coromandel in Nungambakkam is the latest in Chennai to use this type of waste management. The process is carried out in a biogas plant which takes a month to convert waste to fuel. Now, 60% of the LPG used in the staff canteen of the hotel is generated by the plant.
"We categorise our waste into hazardous and non-hazardous and send the former to recyclers," said deputy chief engineer of Taj Coromandel, Gokulakrishan C. "Earlier, we disposed our daily food waste to the landfills. From July, we began feeding the waste into the biogas plants, laid a pipeline and connected it to our dining kitchen where at least 1,000 staff eat every day," he said. The process generated 500 litres of methane for the hotel last month.
The food is cooked on two burners that operate only on methane. The plant however functions only with processed or cooked food. It doesn't take in fruit or vegetable peels.
GPS Renewables developed this plant targeting star hotels to adopt this management. "We wanted to focus on hotels which generate more than 100kg of waste every day," said director of sales, Mohit Behl.
The plant is different from tradition models as it is fitted with communicative devices which relay data on operation, temperature inside the digestor and pressure. "The data will be available for clients to see online and it will give real-time status and help us monitor the biological health of the system," Behl said. The Greater Chennai Corporation had proposed engaging with hotels such as Saravana Bhavan and Ananda Bhavan to handle their wet waste but plans are still in limbo.