'Beacon' brings all-inclusive model of sugarcane trash reusing

'Beacon' brings all-inclusive model of sugarcane trash reusing

Can the practice of burning sugarcane trash in the fields after harvesting not just be stopped, but can the trash also be reused with value addition and generate additional revenue for farmers and throw open new avenues for local entrepreneurs?

The answer found by those involved in 'Beacon' project is yes, as they have started a pilot project shredding sugarcane trash, shifting it from fields, and supplying it to factories that convert them into biomass briquettes and pellets.

The Centre for Innovation & Product Development (CIPD) of the KLE Technological University (KLETU) in Hubballi, CherYsh Trust, and E I D Parry (India) Limited sugar factory at Haliyal have implemented the first phase of the pilot project at Mundwad village in Haliyal taluk of Uttara Kannada district.

In 10 days recently, over nine tonnes of sugarcane trash was shifted from 5.5 acres of sugarcane fields, after shredding, and it was supplied to a biomass briquette factory in Dharwad at a rate of over Rs 3,000 per tonne, bringing Rs 750 net profit per acre for the farmers.

"This model can be adapted in all sugarcane growing areas, and it would create jobs in post-harvesting season, give additional revenue for farmers, avoid air pollution and damage to soil fertility, while rural persons can become entrepreneurs by utilising the business opportunities in transporting and shredding of sugarcane trash," KLETU Vice-Chancellor Ashok Shettar said.

Speaking to media persons here on Tuesday, he stated that the project is aimed at giving an eco-friendly, farmer friendly, and pro-entrepreneurship solution, while the demand for biomass is also good in the market.

Students involved

Engineering students of the KLETU conducted the surveys related to feasibility and other aspects of the project.

BE in mechanical engineering final year students Adarsh Naik, Akshay Patil, Basavanagouda and others, who are attached with the KLETU CIPD, improvised the traditional trash collecting tools, and came up with newer ones which collect trash effectively and comfortably.

"At present, we are using paddy shredding machines to shred sugarcane trash. Within one year, we will develop a shredding and compacting machine exclusively for sugarcane trash, so that more quantity of trash can be transported in a lorry, bringing down the transportation cost and bringing more profit for farmers," Dr Shettar noted, adding that the plan is to develop cost-effective biomass briquette and pellet making machines later.

A few farmers in Dharwad district, and entrepreneurs have shown interest to take up this model. Shredded sugarcane trash can also be used to prepare compost, he said.

KLETU CIPD head Ravi Guttal stated that more employment can be generated, more revenue for farmers can be generated, more entrepreneurs can come up and environment can be protected in a better manner, if this model is scaled up covering all sugarcane growing areas in the State.

CherYsh Trust CEO Sheryl Rebello, E I D Parry (India) Limited officials, farmers, students, entrepreneurs and others were present.

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