Recently, a biomethanation plant was set up on campus opposite Hostel 6, on the way to the construction workers’ camps. This plant has a capacity of processing 2 MT of biodegradable waste in a day. The plant is one of the projects of the Class of 1990 and was planned in association with the Tata Centre, the institute’s administration, with the help of the Public Health Office (PHO). Given the fact that 4.5 MT/day of wet waste is generated in the campus with 4 MT is from the hostels alone, this plant can be seen as a great initiative towards a more sustainable campus.

Biomethanation Plant at IIT Bombay

Biomethanation Plant at IIT Bombay

The biomethanation plant uses various wet wastes generated from the hostel messes nearby and converts it into methane — a valuable biofuel, which is then used in the kitchens of H12-13-14 for cooking purposes. Our institute already has a biogas plant installed near H3, which treats the wet waste from H3 but is currently running at half its capacity of 2 MT/day. This, however, can only fulfill 15% of the hostel’s requirements. The new biomethanation plant, on the contrary, takes in waste from the nearby hostels and can support 25% of Hostel-12,13,14 kitchen requirements. Also, unlike H3’s biogas plant, it doesn’t require water to be added for decomposition, thereby saving on water consumption. The plant is however maintained at high temperatures. But the thermophilic bacteria and the various additives added give a higher decomposition rate than the biogas plant.

Currently, this plant is being maintained and run by its manufacturer GPS renewables which is a Bangalore based company. It has begun with an initial load of 300 kg/day but will reach its full capacity in the next 2 months.

Along with the biomethanation plant the 1990 batch has contributed to the Clean-Green campus initiative. With installation of solar panels in open areas and rooftops and campus beautification including several key aspects like urban landscaping, art installations, construction debris removal, development and creation of an IIT Museum/Archive, horticulture and more. An important part of the initiative is also to spread awareness and increase participation in green ideas, sponsoring a contest for the same annually. All of this is to be overlooked by a Clean Green Campus committee, headed by the Dean IPS, his nominee, Campus Masterplan Committee, Dean ACR, faculty members, representatives of the 1990 batch and additional outside IITB members may also be included.

Alumni batches have been involved in several donations and contributions to the institute. In addition to funding institute schemes like the Young Faculty Award, and fulfilling initiatives of the previous batches, every batch has one or two unique ‘pet projects’ of their own. They coordinate with the concerned professionals and work with the administration to execute their project, and the whole process usually takes around 2-3 years. Likewise, the 1991 batch is working on a special pathway connecting the hostels 15, 16 and 12 to the academic area like a corridor, 1992 batch is involved in student wellness funds and the 1993 batch is planning to fund 10 crores for improving BS Economics batch and other student programs.

There is a plan to construct a similar plant for the hostels 17 and 18. With new hostels and the Research park coming up too, hopefully plants like these will help manage all of the campus’ wet waste.

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