Biogas Plants: A Real Game-Changer for the Rural Landscape and the Indian Economy
Biogas plants a real game changer for the rural landscape and the Indian economy... How to setup a Bio Gas plant in India?
How often do we hear the repeated commitment from the government towards enhancing clean and renewable energy sources in India and the accompanying reports of failure towards the same? The bigger question here is how wise is it to depend solely on the two major but costly sources of renewable energy i.e Wind and Solar when we have a cost-effective and holistic solution in the form of Biogas? Well, wind and solar projects are of course excellent sources to tap clean renewable energy in place of fossil fuels but they require huge investments and often require acquisition of huge tracts of land in a already population dense country like India coupled with the problem of displacement of communities to install these plants. Here is where biogas plants offer a cheap solution.
Biogas are especially a boon in rural areas where power connectivity is minimal and sometimes completely absent. Rural areas provide unlimited feedstock for biogas in the form of cattle dung, agricultural residue and night soil. The initial cost of setting a biogas plant is Rs 15000 to Rs 25000 but one can recover the cost by saving a LPG cylinder each month for a household. There are numerous venues for generating biogas. They can be used at community kitchens, schools/colleges and farm sheds or co-operatives. The university of Agricultural sciences in Bengaluru has already setup a biogas plant in its campus which generates more than 300 units per day and caters to its domestic uses.
What’s more, the leftover slurry from biogas can be used as organic manure in agriculture and farmers can save on the cost of chemical fertilizers which are not environment friendly. We obtain double benefit from biogas. Individuals Farmers and co-operatives can even sell surplus organic manure to farmers. Hence, Biogas is really a boon for Rural India. Protection of environment, saving fossil fuels and fertilizers and boost to value-added farm income- all these objectives can be attained.
How to setup a Biogas plant in India?
Bio fuels are expected to contribute nearly 5000 MW to the renewable energy target of 175,000 MW by 2022 and biogas will certainly be a major component of this target.
Under the biogas and manure management programme( NBMMP), the central government provides subsidy to users installing biogas plants. For a one cubic metre plant costing about Rs 15000 to Rs 18000, the subsidy amount is Rs 5,500. For larger plants costing about Rs 25,000 the subsidy is Rs 9,000. For further details, you could visit the website of the ministry of New and Renewable energy (MNRE).
If you are part of a self-help group (SHG), you can avail of this subsidy and install a biogas plant in your village in a school or community kitchen. Government provides concessions for Women and SC/ST people. Anganwadi centers can install biogas plants and use the left-over food/kitchen residue as feedstock for the plant.
Rural entrepreneurship: You can be an entrepreneur and earn good revenue by staying in your own village by installing biogas plants. You can encourage farmers and people in your village to collect cattle dung and agriculture residue daily from their farms and households and use the same as feedstock in your biogasifier units. You can provide biogas and organic manure back to the farmers.
Biogas can be used to light up low-powered devices such as LED lamps. They can be installed in community toilets and the power generated can be used to light the toilets. Hilly and Tribal hamlets are ideal for biogas generation as the people own livestock but lack power and resources like fertilizers.