Clean Tech

Flying towards sustainability

Ashwini Phadnis | Updated on: Feb 13, 2018

Bengaluru airport is en route to managing its waste in-house

Ashwini Phadnis Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), the third busiest airport in the country, is taxiing towards the top spot in promoting environmental sustainability.

After installing solar panels, LED lighting and using recycled water, the airport has now begun the process of initiating an in-house integrated solid waste management (SWM) facility to deal with the 20 tonnes of organic and inorganic waste generated every day. This makes KIA the first airport in Asia to initiate in-house integrated waste management.

“The unique nature of waste generated at an airport requires a multi-technology approach for its management,” says Hari Marar, Managing Director and CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

The airport has tied up with Polish firm Ekolog Ltd. to set up a facility to segregate waste at the source that is generated by thousands of people who use the airport including passengers, concessionaires and cargo handlers. Ekolog has over 30 years of experience in the environmental technologies sector and has used biomethanisation for power recovery in Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine and China.

Ekolog will build SWM plant at Bengaluru airport, which is expected to be up and running in January next year. This will be able to convert organic waste into sustainable bio-energy through a process of biomethanation.

Marar says that the cost of waste management from source to resource is estimated to be equivalent to ₹1.4 per passenger. “Biomethanation is a technology used to treat the organic fraction of solid waste generated,” says Marar. “The process converts organic waste to biogas and can be used in an internal combustion technology for the generation of power. The process generates biofuel with byproducts nutrient rich liquid and solid fertilisers.”

He says, “The latest technologies used in converting organic waste to energy also add value by way of reducing the carbon footprint by offsetting energy consumption through clean energy and reducing contamination.”

The airport claims that organic waste utilisation using the biomethanation process results in over 60 per cent reduction of organic waste delivered to the plant and in obtaining digested and stabilised liquid organic substrate, which qualifies and is recommended for landscape rehabilitation and irrigation. KIA will use some of this for developing gardens and other green areas on its campus and engage with farmers to enable them to use the environmentally friendly organic post.

It also plans to reach out to stakeholders such as concessionaries, F&B and retail outlets and persuade them to use recycled products. The airport will sell the recyclable material such as glass and plates to other manufacturers as raw material.

Besides this, the plant will be able to generate enough electricity to power 5,000 households for a year. According to Marar, this electricity will be used to operate the SWM facility and for other uses at the airport.

As part of its strategy to become self-reliant in energy and water, the airport has taken other steps such as commissioning of 3.5 MW onsite solar power plants and is in the process of completing two projects of 20 million units of energy each.

Published on February 13, 2018

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