Published: 14th August 2018
This Hyderabad start-up helps you turn your kitchen waste into biogas
Ahuja Green Technologies (AGT) has its plants in Telangana, Odisha, Gujarat and other states of the country as well
Imagine all your kitchen waste — vegetable and fruit peels, and leftover food — being converted to biogas on a daily basis. Sounds wonderfully green, doesn't it? Such is the plan of the MD of Ahuja Green Technologies (AGT), Shruti Ahuja. From getting its first commercial breakthrough in 2014 through the Akshaya Patra Foundation, the NGO that runs one of the world's largest school lunch programmes, to being commissioned to handle the waste of Hyderabad's Jawahar Nagar dump yard with Ramky Enviro Engineers recently, AGT has come a long way.
AGT's parent company is Ahuja Engineering Services. They have established their plants in more than six kitchens of the Akshaya Patra Foundation
"There is huge scope for us and companies like us who work in the waste disposal space," says 31-year-old Ahuja, adding that, "another three companies can work in the same field and still operate comfortably." Ahuja has always been passionate about doing something in the field of converting waste to value and this led her to conduct extensive market research and work closely with poultry farmers as well to help them manage poultry waste in the past.
Coming to the plant itself, Ahuja explains that first, a shredder reduces the food waste into smaller pieces and makes it a homogeneous slurry. Then some chemicals are added to it to balance the pH levels and finally, the bio-methanation process begins with the help of the anaerobic digestion technology. "It's a biological process where organic waste is turned into biogas through a series of reactions," she explains.
Keeping it low: The operating cost of the plant is low and there is no need for maintenance for at least one and a half years
This plant occupies the space of one Innova, needs a minimum of 250-300 kg of waste to work with, which makes it ideal for gated communities, hostels, hotels and restaurants, and is low on maintenance. "It's even very easy to operate once installed," explains Ahuja who is an alumnus of State University College of New York. They even have an Android app that helps monitor the plant when you are away. And now, an IoT-based system is in the works, through which they will be able to keep track of the health of their plants across India.
Ahuja has co-authored many publications and articles in well-known scientific journals. After working with AT&T and MIT in the USA, Ahuja came back to India in 2010
Of course, the journey was no smooth sailing. "Sometimes, the CSR wings are just not environmentally aware so it's a challenge to spread awareness about the benefits of this kind of investment," says Ahuja, who was born in Hyderabad. She believes that the Swachh Bharat Mission helped and was a huge wake-up call for all. So post that, "we found that companies were at least ready to listen to us and try to work out a solution," informs Ahuja, who has a 12-member team working at AGT.
For more on her, click on in.linkedin.com/in/