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India has installed plants that can produce close to 1 million cubic meters of gas from agricultural refuse

According to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy(MNRE), in the year 2010, over 20 MW power generation projects from waste were set up during the year. In view of the availability of large quantities of food and kitchen wastes at places of community cooking/large kitchens and eating joints, a project for biogas production from such wastes was under implementation. These include energy recovery and power generation from industrial and commercial wastes, & effluents, and cogeneration. Industrial waste-to-energy projects with a total capacity of about 8 MWeq were completed during the year. In addition, about 30 MWeq projects are under installation.

As readers of Panchabuta might be aware, The National Biogas and Manure Management Programme of the Ministry mainly caters to setting up of family type biogas plants for meeting the cooking energy needs in rural areas of the country. During the year, 60,000 family type biogas plants have been installed upto 31.12.2010. With this the cumulative installation of 4.31 million family type biogas plants, about 35% of the estimated potential has been realized so far. Apart from setting up family type biogas plants, the Ministry started a new initiative from the year 2008-09 for demonstration of Integrated Technology package in entrepreneurial mode on medium size (200-1000 cum/day) mixed feed Biogas-Fertilizer Plants (BGFP) for generation, purification/enrichment, bottling and piped distribution of biogas. Ten such projects with aggregate capacity of 7700 cum/ day capacity have been sanctioned and are at different stages of implementation.

Further, there are NGO’s and private sector organizations in this space including, BIOTECH, an NGO based in Kerala, South India, which has developed biogas digesters for managing food waste and other organic waste in more than 20,000 households, 220 institutions and 19 municipal sites. The digesters are prefabricated from ferro-cement and gas collectors made from Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) so that they can be installed quickly and easily on site and has no electric or moving parts.

According to a written answer to parliament a couple of days back from Minister of New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, India has installed plants in the last four years that can produce 930,712 cubic meters of gas from manure and other agricultural refuse. Cooking gas subsidized by the government is undercutting India’s efforts to roll out fuel produced from renewable sources such as agricultural waste, he further added. However, a lot of these success stories is starting to happen in the consumers of  commercial liquid petroleum gas (LPG), where the subsidies are far lower than that given to domestic consumers.

This is the similar to the power tariffs where captive, commercial and industrial consumers find it cheaper to generate power using coal or even wind than buying it from the state where as there is no incentive for the residential users to either go roof top solar or any other source given the cheap subsidized tariffs.

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