An ambitious project aimed at producing charcoal from garbage generated in Latur city and surrounding areas has been launched in Latur, a prosperous town in central Maharashtra, India. This path breaking project was officially inaugurated in Latur on March 16. The Mayor of Latur and the Chief Executive Officer of Latur District Headquarter were the chief guests for the function. This project is a collaborative venture of RaGa LLC (USA), Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (India), Samuchit Enviro Tech Pvt. Ltd. (India), and Jan-Seva Solid Waste Management Co-operative Society Ltd. (Latur, India).
RaGa, a US-based company established by two non-resident Indians, has financed the project. The technology used for converting garbage to charcoal is provided by ARTI. SET has the responsibility of managing the project and marketing the charcoal, whereas members of Jan-Seva are engaged in producing the charcoal.
In this phase, the project will dispose off about 2 tons of organic garbage and produce about 0.5 tons of char briquettes every day. This will be achieved through operation of 16 charcoaling kilns and one briquetting machine. The production process will generate a daily income of about Rs.80 per person for about 25 members of Janseva for at least 150 days annually. There are plans to scale up the project in a phasewise manner. Based on the estimate of charcoalable biomass generated in and around Latur every day, there is a potential for about 150-200 charcoaling kilns.
This environment friendly charcoal can be used instead of wood charcoal in roadside restaurants, hotels, hostel mess, etc. It can also be used as industrial fuel. It is even possible to save consumption of cooking gas at the household level using this charcoal as a household fuel. For this purpose, ARTI has also developed a special cooking device called Sarai Cooking System. It is possible to cook food for 5-6 people using only 100 gm of charcoal in the Sarai System.
Once the project in Latur became fully operational, there are plans to establish similar projects at various locations, wherever the local waste management systems – either governmental or nongovernmental - were willing to co-operate.