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Green Energy- Bio CNG Plants A promising Future in Sustainable Energy

Green Energy- Bio CNG Plants A promising Future in Sustainable Energy

India is among the fastest growing economy in the world and its energy consumption is slated to increase rapidly. According to the government’s policy think-tank Niti Aayog, India’s energy demand is likely to go up by 2.7-3.2 times with per-capita energy demand expected to increase from 0.5 toe to 1.1 toe between 2012 and 2040. The country currently imports nearly 77% of its crude oil requirements leading the government to set a target of reducing this import by at least 10% by 2022. Further, it has set a target of increasing the contribution of gas in India’s energy mix from existing 6.5% (global average is 23.5%) to 15% by 2022.

The government has now planned to set up bio-CNG plants and allied infrastructure through the Oil Marketing Company (OMCs) by 2019-20. It plans to allocate Rs. 7,000 crore for setting up infrastructure of bio-CNG which will be channeled through the OMCs. This will be a major step towards its aim of making India a gas based economy in the future.

Background

Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc. After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%. Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. With calorific value (~52,000 KJ/kg) and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel. Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.

There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:

  • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution 
  • Additional revenue source 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

The potential for Compressed Bio-Gas production from various sources in India is estimated at about 62 million tonnes per annum.

Compressed Bio-Gas plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs. CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative. The 1,500-strong CNG stations network in the country currently serves about 33 lakh gas-based vehicles. The Working Group on Biofuels, set up under the National Policy on Biofuels 2018, is in the process of finalising a pan-India pricing model for Compressed Bio-Gas. As per a report of NOMURA published in the economic times the country is estimated to have a network of 15000 CNG station and 1500 LNG station to cater 33 Million gas based vehicles by the year 2030.

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.

It is planned to roll out 5,000 Compressed Bio-Gas plants across India in a phased manner, with 250 plants by the year 2020, 1,000 plants by 2022 and 5,000 plants by 2025. These plants are expected to produce 15 million tonnes of CBG per annum, which is about 40% of current CNG consumption of 44 million tonnes per annum in the country. At  total investment of approx. Rs. 1.7 lakh crore, this initiative is expected to generate direct employment for 75,000 people and produce 50 million tonnes of bio-manure for crops. 

Last updated 1 year ago

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