An idea too good to waste
Waste management and producing energy are two major issues that plague our country. Interestingly, if suitably leveraged, the two can work hand-in-hand to create work wonders says space scientist G. Krishna Rayalu who was born and raised in Hyderabad.
The Nizam College student finished his post-graduation from Osmania University, where he specialised in space engineering. “I joined the remote sensing cameras team at the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad. My name was recommended to Agência Espacial Brasileira, which is the Brazilian Space Agency, and I shifted to Brazil to work there,” he says.
About 20 years ago, the idea of generating electricity from waste products occurred to him. The 66-year-old scientist says, “Electricity is a big problem in our country — some villages are still in the dark. On the other hand, waste management is also a problem even in the rural areas. We have approached the technology Minister of Telangana, K.T. Rama Rao, regarding setting up the first plant in the country in Hyderabad. Our aim is to comply with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals provided by the UN. So, the basic technology used will be pyrolysis, which is to decompose organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen and an advanced version of gasification. Once the pressure is made the turbines in the machine would move, and produce electricity. The more the garbage produced, the better for the plant. Electricity could be produced locally, for each city or village. Also, there would be no harmful by-products from this.”
Interestingly, G.K. Rayalu is also one of the main reasons why Antrix Corporation Limited was launched by Government of India. The commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was set up after he intervened. “After I joined the Brazilian Space Agency, I realised that ISRO had a lot of potential, and can provide support and services to other countries’ space stations for their missions. When I approached ISRO, they weren’t convinced. Then I had to approach the then prime minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, who gave a thought to the idea and then Antrix was launched under his government.”
Talking about his vision for this initiative and India, he says, “I think India has a lot of talent which needs nurturing. Space technology is the next big thing in the world, and we need to provide young minds with proper institutions if we want to develop the country.”