Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI)

ARTI won an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in 2006.

The Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI) in Pune has developed a biogas plant which uses food waste rather than manure as feedstock and supplies biogas for cooking. The plant is sufficiently compact to be used by urban households, and over 700 are currently in use.

Pune is a relatively affluent city in south India, and many people use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or kerosene for cooking. Waste food is often discarded at the side of the road, as in many cities, attracting stray dogs, flies and rats and creating a public health hazard. The ARTI compact biogas plant is made from two standard high-density polyethylene (HDPE) water tanks: the larger tank acts as the digester and the smaller one is inverted and placed into it to serve as a gas-holder. The plant safely digests kitchen waste, food waste or waste flour from mills, thus reducing the problem of waste disposal. A 1,000 litre plant produces sufficient biogas to at least halve the use of LPG or kerosene for cooking in a household, as well as a small amount of liquid effluent which can be used as fertiliser. ARTI has developed the technology, field tested it, and managed the supply of about 700 biogas plants in Maharashtra. Around 100 plants are now being installed every month.

The first-prize Ashden Award to ARTI recognises the enormous potential for using this compact biogas digester in towns and cities, both to supply cooking gas and to assist in the disposal of organic waste.