Biogas is one of the viable alternatives to the burning energy question. In 2014-15, about 20,700 lakh cubic meters of Biogas is produced in the country which is equivalent to 5% of the total LPG consumption in the country. The Government is also extending substantial subsidy for setting up of new Biogas plants.
At a time when the viability and safety of energy alternatives is being debated, it is pertinent to look at one of the oldest renewable energy alternatives, Biogas.
Biogas is primarily Methane and Carbon dioxide. It may have small amounts of hydrogen sulphide moisture and siloxanes. The gases methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be combusted or oxidized with oxygen. This energy release allows biogas to be used as a fuel; it can be used for any heating purpose, such as cooking. It can also be used in a gas engine to convert the energy in the gas into electricity and heat.
A family type biogas plant generates biogas from organic substances such as cattle –dung, and other bio-degradable materials such as biomass from farms, gardens, kitchens and night soil wastes etc. The process of biogas generation is called anaerobic digestion (AD). The following are the benefits of the Biogas technology
- It provides clean gaseous fuel for cooking and lighting.
- Chemical fertilizers can be done away with since the digested slurry obtained from the biogas plants can be used as enriched bio-manure.
- It is good for the climate and for sanitation problems since toilets can be linked directly with biogas plants.
Biogas Production in India
In response to a series of questions posed to the New and Renewable Energy Ministry in the Loksabha on Biogas plants and the production of biogas across the country, the minister in charge, Mr. Piyush Goyal has given the following information
In India, the estimate for the production of biogas is about 20,757 lakh cubic meters in 2014-15. This is equivalent to 6.6 crore domestic LPG cylinders. This is equivalent to 5% of the total LPG consumption in the country today.
Within states, Maharashtra tops the production with 3578 lakh cubic meters while Andhra Pradesh comes next with 2165 lakh cubic meters.
Apart from these, under the twelfth five year plan (2012-2017), the government of India had set a target to set up 6.5 lakh biogas plants across the nation with a budget of Rs.650 crore under a program called, the National Biogas and Manure Management Program (NBMMP). It had been estimated that by setting up of these biogas plants, about 1-6 cubic meter of biogas per day and 4745 lakh cubic meter biogas could be produced annually. The program is being implemented by the State Nodal Departments/State Nodal Agencies and Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Biogas Development and Training Centers (BDTCs).
The NBMMP is being implemented as a central sector scheme. It provides for setting up of family type biogas plants mainly for rural and semi-urban households. The scheme provides for capital subsidy, turn-key job fee for supervision of installation and free maintenance warrantee for five years, organization of training courses, workshops/seminars and information dissemination. The
- Capital subsidy provision of Rs.1500/- per plant for fixed dome Deenbandhu type and floating gasholder KVIC type brick masonry models.
- Free maintenance warrantee up to five years.
What is the Progress of the plan?
Out of the 1.06 lakh biogas plants planned to be setup in 2013-14, 79% that is, 83540 plants have been successfully setup. For the year 2014-15, of the 1.1 lakh plants planned to be setup, 45146 were already setup as of 31st December 2014. Comparing both the years, there is a 1.7% increase in the number of plants that were planned to be setup and also an encouraging 3% increase in the number installed until the end of 2014.
Incentives & Subsidies for Setting up Biogas Plants
Central subsidy is being extended for setting up of a biogas plant. For one cubic meter biogas plant, subsidies of Rs.5500 and Rs.7000 are given for general category and SC/ST respectively whereas for setting up a 2-6 cubic meter biogas plant, Rs.9,000 and Rs.11,000 subsidies are given to the general and SC/ST categories respectively.
North-Eastern states, including Sikkim are given a higher subsidy in setting up biogas plants. In this region, Rs.15000 and Rs.17000 are given for one cubic meter and 2-6 cubic meter biogas plants respectively. However, in Assam, these numbers are a little lower. There is also an additional subsidy of Rs.1200 given for toilet linked biogas plants. The following table captures the amount of subsidy extended for setting up of a biogas plant.
|Rates of Central Subsidy for different capacities of biogas plants (in Rupees)
|1 Cubic Metre
|2- 6 Cubic Metre
|North Eastern Region States including Sikkim (except plain areas of Assam)
|Plain areas of Assam.
|Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Niligiri of Tamil Nadu, Sadar Kurseong & Kalimpong Sub-Divisions of Darjeeling, Sunderbans (W.B.) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
|Scheduled castes / Scheduled Tribes of other than NE Region States including Sikkim & other Hilly States /regions as given in Sl.no.3 above.
|All other areas
The minister also said that 2.53 lakh families were benefited with biogas plants which were set up using the Rs.307.08 crore that was released from the proposed budget until 12th March 2015.
Unfortunately, around 4.5% of the inspected Biogas plants are non functional. A total of 4194 biogas plants established during the 11th plan period in 8 different states were inspected. The main reasons for this as explained by the minister could be,
- Construction & Maintenance defects
- Lack of raw material
- Problems related to equipment (burners, pipeline, fittings)
Featured Image: McKay Savage