67-year-old Sukhdev Singh, a businessman based out of Mawana, Uttar Pradesh developed a machine which can produce fire logs from cow dung. He took his inspiration from youtube videos. The initial model did not have a gearbox but after some testing, Singh and his team built a machine with a 5 HP electric motor and gearbox. Sukhdev said,
You don't have to be an engineer or have some kind of a degree to create a machine that can potentially help thousands. I have a factory near Meerut where we manufacture agricultural equipment, and I am always on the lookout for innovations in this field. About two years ago, on YouTube, I came across a video of a machine that could convert dry cow dung into strong wood-like logs and was immediately impressed. It meant changing waste into something very valuable while making sure of a positive impact on the environment by saving trees.
The screw mechanism in the machine allows for the mixing and compressing of the raw materials into moulds, the sizes of which can be adjusted based on the requirement. Extruded logs are then keep in the sun to eliminate any remaining moisture. The machine can create logs as long as 3 feet, at a rate of one log per minute. Even the slurry from biogas units and straw can be mixed to feed the machine to make the same type of logs.
Mr. Singh also added,
People in urban areas often don’t realise but a majority of the Indian population in the rural areas still relies heavily on firewood. It is the main source of energy for them and there is a rising shortage. Even crematoriums depend on firewood for the last rites procedure. So by converting a readily available waste material into something so useful and valuable we are not only aiding waste management but also helping create a great alternative for wood. Additionally, unlike firewood that often requires other materials to burn longer, this cow dung log is slightly hollow to allow the passage of oxygen and therefore, highly combustible.
The machine is priced at Rs 80,000 ($1200) inclusive of GST. The maintenance cost is almost zero. For a farmer with 20-30 cattles can easily afford this machine and can get very useful and eco-friendly product at home.