Biogas provides a low cost fuel option: PAU experts
With the cost of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) escalating, biogas can provide a better alternative, according to PAU experts. Biogas is rich in methane and can be used directly for heating purposes, cooking, lighting or power generation, the scientists added. The faculty members of the university’s Department of Civil Engineering (DCE) pointed out that Punjab had already installed about 10,1705 biogas plants and that the state has the potential to construct another 4,11,000 such plants.
Jaspal Singh, Head DCE, defined the gas as clean fuel and said the waste generated from its production can be used as manure as it had a better nutrient value than ordinary farm manure. Singh said the popular ‘Deenbandhu biogas plant’, being installed by farmers, would produce fuel for nearly 25 years and will be cost effective as it depends only on organic matter like cattle dung.
Another expert N K Khullar said, “As per the annual report (2009-10) of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India has the potential to build 123.3 lakh biogas plants. About 33.9 per cent of this potential had already been exploited by December 2009. In Punjab, the same figure is 24.7 per cent.” The Centre has increased the subsidy to Rs 8000 or 50 per cent of the cost of constructing the plant (which ever is less), Khullar said. An additional subsidy of Rs 1000 is provided to farmers who attach their toilets to the biogas plant.
Emphasising that farmers who rear animals should adopt this technology, , another civil engineering expert Dr Sarabjit Singh Sooch said biogas was produced in a digester which is designed for different retention periods depending upon the temperature of the region and other factors. The optimum temperature range is between 30-35° C, said he while adding that below this temperature range, the biogas generation slows downs. In India , a retention period of 40 to 60 days is generally adopted depending upon the region in which the plant is located. Lower is the average temperature in the area, higher is the retention time.