• Vinay Dhawale

Energy security through Agriculture

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic induced lockdown where there is a restriction on transportation, vegetables got rotten in the field or lying unsold or harvested across the country. This waste vegetables can be a huge source of energy in the form of Bio-CNG and make a step ahead towards India's Energy Security.

Due to the US-Iran conflict, India has to reduce its import from Iran which transacts in INR. Current Account Deficit (CAD) inflated because of the higher cost of oil import, raising concern on long term economic planning and development. On account of CAD rising INR touches the lowest.


Bio-CNG step towards Energy Security: -

In India traditionally biomass had been utilized either through direct combustion or anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion of biomass is the process in which organic matter, in the absence of oxygen, is mainly transformed into a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide which is usually referred to as biogas. The first experiment on biogas production was done in 1939 by S.V. Desai, the pioneer of anaerobic digestion in India. When this mixture is further processed, purified and compressed it is called Bio Compressed Natural Gas (Bio-CNG). It is similar to natural gas in terms of its composition and properties.

Configuration of Bio-CNG :

  1. 92-98℅ Methane and only 2-8℅ carbon dioxide

  2. The calorific value of Bio-CNG is 52000 kJ per Kg which is 167% higher than that of biogas

  3. Ideal for power generation and automobiles

Status of Bio-CNG production: -

Bio-CNG Potential in India

  • India is the second-largest producer of vegetable, fruits and field crops, hence residues are readily available in India

  • 30-35℅ post-harvest loss of fruits and vegetables from farm to fork due to lack of infrastructure

  • Poor waste management technology in the processing industry

  • 600 million tonnes of agricultural waste is generated per year in the country

This all makes raw material available from farmers, APMC mandis and processing industry.

Policies and initiatives of Govt :

  1. SATAT - Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation scheme was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, under which 15 million tonnes of CBG will be produced from 5,000 plants by 2023

  2. GOBAR-DHAN - Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan scheme, aimed at converting solid waste and cattle dung into compost, fertiliser, bio-gas and Bio-CNG

  3. Switching of Public Transportation on Bio-CNG. Municipal Corporation like Indore, Pune, Nagpur switching towards Bio-CNG based public transport buses

  4. Financial assistance available from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy under the Programme on Energy from urban, industrial, Agricultural waste/crop residues and municipal solid waste

Opportunity for Farmers, Entrepreneurs, FPO

Producing Bio-CNG is a step towards PMs Mission on Aatmanirbhar Bharat Mission. Santosh Gondhalekar is the 1st entrepreneur who established 1st Bio-CNG plant in 2016 in Pune. He brought agricultural waste and residue directly from farmers. Looking into future need of energy thousands of plants needed to meet the demand. This creates a lot scope to Entrepreneur, FPO, APMC mandis. NAFED is planning to set-up a plant in Azadpur Mandi to create clean and green energy. Hence farmer will not only ensure food and nutritional security, he will also ensure Energy Security!!!

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