The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has taken a new initiative for bottling of biogas to demonstrate an integrated technology package in entrepreneurial mode on medium size mixed feed biogas-fertilizer plants for generation, purification, bottling and piped distribution of biogas.
Biomass resources such as cattle dung, agriculture wastes and other organic wastes have been one of the main energy sources for mankind since the dawn of civilisation. There is a vast scope to convert these energy sources into biogas. Biogas production is a clean low carbon technology for efficient management and conversion of fermentable organic wastes into clean cheap and versatile fuel and bio/organic manure. It has the potential for leveraging sustainable livelihood development as well as tackling local and global land, air and water pollution. Biogas obtained by anaerobic digestion of cattle dung and other loose and leafy organic matter/biomass wastes can be used as an energy source for various applications namely, cooking, heating, space cooling/ refrigeration, electricity generation and gaseous fuel for vehicular application. Based on the availability of cattle dung alone from about 304 million cattle, there exists an estimated potential of about 18,240 million cubic meter of biogas generation annually. India is implementing one of the WorldÆs largest programme in renewable energy. The country ranks second in biogas utilisation. Biogas can be generated and supplied round the clock in contrast to solar and wind, which are intermittent in nature. Biogas plants provide three-in-one solution of gaseous fuel generation, organic manure production and wet biomass waste disposal/management.
Biogas is a product of bio-methanation process when fermentable organic materials such as cattle dung, kitchen waste, poultry droppings, night soil wastes, agricultural wastes, etc. are subjected to anaerobic digestion in the presence of methanogenic bacteria. This process is better as the digested slurry from biogas plants is available for its utilisation as bio/organic manure in agriculture, horticulture and pisciculture as a substitute/supplement to chemical fertilizers. In contrast, when biomass is subjected to combustion/gasification process, it ends up in the destruction of biomass and only ash is left after extraction of energy. Therefore, the bio-methanation process of converting biomass into gaseous fuel is superior and a sustainable process that needs to be preferred for such biomass materials that can be processed in biogas plants.
Composition and properties
Biogas comprises of 60-65 per cent methane, 35-40 per cent carbon dioxide, 0.5-1.0 per cent hydrogen sulphide, with rest made up of water vapour, etc. Biogas is non-toxic, colourless and flammable gas. It has an ignition temperature of 650-7,50 degree Celsius. Its density is 1.214kg/ m3 (assuming about 60 per cent methane and 40 per cent CO2). Its calorific value is 20 MJ/m3 (or 4700 kcal.). It is almost 20 per cent lighter than air. Biogas, like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cannot be converted into liquid state under normal temperature and pressure. It liquefies at a pressure of about 47.4 kg/cm2 at a critical temperature of -82.10c. Removing carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, moisture and compressing it into cylinders makes it easily usable for transport applications and also for stationary applications. Already CNG technology has become easily available and therefore, bio-methane (purified biogas) which is nearly same as CNG, can be used for all applications for which CNG is used. Purified biogas (bio-methane) has a high calorific value in comparison to raw biogas.
Technology demonstration on biogas bottling under RDD andD For the first time in the country during the year 2008-09, a new initiative was taken for technology demonstration on biogas bottling projects in entrepreneurial mode, for installation of medium size mixed feed biogas plants for generation, purification and bottling of biogas under research, design, development and demonstration (RDD andD) policy of MNRE after R andD. Installation of such plants aims at production of CNG quality of compressed biogas (CBG) to be used as vehicular fuel in addition to meeting stationary and motive power, electricity generation, thermal application etc. needs in a decentralised manner through establishment of a sustainable business model in this sector. There is a huge potential for installation of such plants in various areas. Under the demonstration phase, the Ministry has sanctioned a central financial assistance for a limited number of such projects for implementation following an entrepreneurial mode in different states namely Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
So far, eight number of biogas bottling projects of various capacities and technologies have been commissioned in the country after obtaining required licenses for filling and storage of compressed biogas in CNG cylinders from Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), State Pollution Control Board (PCB), etc.
IIT, Delhi is assigned for technical monitoring and hand holding of the consultants/promoters and preparation of documentation on different types of technology which may emerge out of these projects.
The purity of biogas is more than 90 per cent methane and this has being corroborated through tests conducted by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and compressed to 150 bar pressure for filling in cylinders. The purified biogas is equivalent /similar to CNG.
The purified biogas is filled in CNG cylinder and supplied to mid-day meal scheme, mess, hotel, industries, etc., for various purposes such as cooking, heating, etc. Calorific value of purified biogas is equivalent to CNG. As a matter of fact, the biogas bottling plants are one of the most potent tools for mitigating climatic change by preventing black carbon emission from biomass chulha since biogas is used as a cooking fuel and methane emissions from untreated cattle dung and biomass wastes are also avoided. The purified biogas can be bottled in CNG cylinders and wherever CNG is currently used, biogas bottling can be used as an alternative.
The slurry which comes out of the biogas plant is directly or after drying used as bio/organic manure for improving soil-fertility and reducing use of chemical fertilizers. It is also non-pollutant because it is free from weed-seeds, foul smell and pathogens. The slurry is rich in main nutrients such as Nitrogen, Potassium and Sodium (NPK) along with micronutrients û iron and zinc, etc. As such there is no pollution from biogas plant. The slurry/manure of biogas plant is being sold to farmers and used in liquid/solid form by them in agricultural crops. The field trials have indicated the excellent growth in agro-production and substantial improvements in the quality.
This biogas bottling project will be able to replace fuel and manure worth of about Rs. 35 lakh annually. The full cost of the project would be recovered within four to six years. The separation and bottling of CO2 and extraction of Humic acid from slurry would further improve viability of biogas bottling plants. The biogas bottling project provide three-in-one solution of gaseous fuel generation, bio /organic manure production and wet biomass waste disposal/management.
As a matter of fact, biogas-bottling plants are one of the most potent tools for mitigating climatic change by preventing black carbon emission from biomass chulha since biogas is used as a cooking fuel and methane emissions from untreated cattle dung and biomass wastes are also avoided. The purified biogas can be bottled in CNG cylinders and wherever CNG is currently used, compressed biogas (CBG) can be used as an alternative.
There is a vast potential for the production of biogas in the country. In addition to the energy production, biogas plants also provide bio-manure and are helpful in dealing with the problems of waste management, providing clean environment and mitigating pollution in urban, industrial and rural areas. Biogas is also a prominent alternative to petroleum fuel like LPG, CNG and diesel.
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