(GIST OF YOJANA) Biogas [JUNE-2019]




  •  India generates about 1,45,128 tonne of waste daily (or around 53 million tonne annually) and on an average 46 per cent of it is processed daily, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  •  For a country like India that is heavily dependent on expensive imported oil and gas imports as well as coal for meeting its energy requirements, it definitely makes more sense to look at alternative resources. And this is where the Waste to Energy programme propagated to recover energy in the form of Biogas/ BioCNG/ Power from urban, industrial and agricultural wastes gains importance. Besides, it also promotes off grid connectivity.


  •  About 184 Waste to Energy plants based on urban , industrial and agricultural wastes have been set up in private sector with an aggregate capacity of 315,24 MWeq. However, there are still many challenges remaining to promote this programme as it also means undoing a social mindset.
  •  It also needs to be ensured that Waste to Energy plants themselves do not violate any environmental norms particularly for municipal solid wastes. Marketing of the concept is another uphill task which requires governmental involvement as well as financial support is needed in setting up a plant, which is not cheap.
  •  Biogas ran be used for transport fuel. In fact, oil refining and marketing companies have got into action to make it a reality. What is Compressed Biogas (CBG) and how does it work? According to experts, it has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, and cattle dung, as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers.

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Key benefits

  •  There are multiple benefits of converting agricultural residue and cattle dung into CBG on a commercial scale:
  •  Responsible waste management reduction in carbon emissions and pollution.
  •  Additional revenues sources for farmers.
  •  Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment.
  •  Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals. Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil.
  •  Buffer against crude oil, gas price fluctuations.

Way forward

  •  But, a lot depends on pricing as India is a price sensitive market. The Working Group on Biofuels is in the process of finalising a pan-India pricing model for CBG. Besides, according to 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.
  •  While solar and wind did develop a glam quotient, they can only be intermittent to coal or other fossil fuel What can actually work in favour of India is biogas. Yes, there are challenges like CBG quality and marketing.
  •  Biogas cannot succeed without governmental support as it is still at a very nascent stage here. But once it takes off, the government can play the role of a facilitator and allow private sector to run the business.

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