Friday, Feb 25, 2005
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By K.V. Prasad
COIMBATORE, FEB. 24 . In a year from now, the city will have a crematorium run with a biomass gasifier. Philanthropists under the banner of the Peelamedu Public Welfare Foundation will fund the Rs. 40-lakh project for the crematorium, which will be established by a Madurai-based company on the Coimbatore Corporation's burial ground in Vilankurichi.
Chennai, Madurai and Thrissur in Kerala have such crematoria while projects are on at Palani, Karur and Erode.
Initiated by the foundation's vice-president and founder of the Perks Institutions, Rama Ranganathan, it aims at providing the much-needed facility for the Peelamedu area. Three electric crematoria already function at Chokkampudur, Aathupalam and Sidhapudur.
The biomass gasifier will reduce power consumption cost by 70 per cent and burn bodies at 200 degrees Celsius higher than the electric crematoria. "While electricity helps produce heat around 800 degrees C, energy from biomass will produce heat above 1000 degrees C," says G. Thirumurugan, chief executive of Jwalaa Equipment and Consultants, the Madurai firm.
"For the industry, even a three per cent saving on power cost is a substantial gain. Therefore, for the crematorium, a 70 per cent saving will contribute to a sharp reduction in the overall operational cost incurred."
He says the total operational cost a month in the biomass crematorium will not exceed Rs. 50,000 whereas electric crematoria incur an average expenditure of Rs. 1.5 lakhs, including the power cost of Rs.1 lakh. The company already carries out maintenance of the electric crematoria in the city.
The returns will also be higher, he says. While only five bodies a day can be cremated in an electric crematorium, the biomass gasifier facility can cremate ten. It takes two hours for a body to be reduced to ashes by electricity while biomass energy takes only an hour.
Gradually, renewable energy will replace electricity in the existing crematoria as the costs are less, he says. Besides, pollution will also be reduced as wet scrubbers will be used in the chimneys to arrest emission of toxic fumes.
"Hydrocarbon emission will be negligible. All safeguards will be provided to minimise pollution. Cremation using electricity or biomass energy is a safe option over the open incineration of bodies. The cost also works out cheaper."
Graphics: S. Rajasekaran
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