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Biogas-A Story Untold

Why is biogas important for India?

1. India is heavily dependent on expensive imported oil, gas and coal for meeting its energy requirements.

2. India generates about 1,45,128 tonne of waste daily (53 million tonne annually) and on an average 46% of it is processed daily, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

3. Power from urban, industrial and agricultural wastes is gaining importance because it is promoting off-grid connectivity.

What are the challenges?

1. Waste to Energy programme requires government support.

2. It requires that various Ministries work in synergy.

3. Role of various schemes in generating revenue for small players is also an important aspect.

4. Maintaining cattle is becoming difficult for an individual due to which individual biogas plants are seeing a decline.

5. It also needs to be ensured that Waste to Energy plants themselves do not violate any environmental norms particularly for municipal solid wastes.

6. Marketing of this concept is also an uphill task which requires governmental involvement as well as financial support.

7. India is a price sensitive market therefore; a lot depends upon pricing.

Where biogas can be used?

1. It can be used for transport fuel.

2. Compressed Biogas (CBG) has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels.

3. Better use of agricultural residue, and cattle dung can provide an additional source to the farmers.

4. CBG is also called as Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) and is expected to benefit vehicle-users, farmers and entrepreneurs.

5. CBG will help bring down dependency on crude oil and gas imports.

How can CBG be produced?

1. The potential for CBG production from various sources in India is estimated at about 62 million tonnes annually.

2. CBG can be produced from various biomass/waste sources, including agricultural residue, sugarcane press mud, distillery spent wash, cattle dung and sewage treatment plant waste.

3. CBG is similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential and can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel replacing CNG.

Which are the benefits of using CBG?

1. Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution.

2. Additional revenue source for farmers.

3. Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment.

4. Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals.

5. Reduction in imports of natural gas and crude oil.

6. Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations.

When India started focusing on Biogas?

1. About 184 Waste to Energy plants based on urban, industrial and agricultural wastes has been set up in private sector with an aggregate capacity of 315.24 MWeq in last two decades.

2. The Working group on Biofuels is in the process of finalizing a pan-India pricing model for CBG.

3. In accordance with the proposal, the entrepreneurs would be able to separately market the other by-products from these plants, including bio-manure, carbon dioxide, etc. to enhance returns on investment.