Give a man a LPG cylinder (with subsidy) and you provide him gas for a month. Give a man a biogas plant and you provide him cooking gas for a lifetime.
We have been hearing for quite some time about the Government of India’s desire to cut down LPG subsidy. If they are sincere enough in reducing people’s burden, Government should promote extensively the use of biogas generated from degradable wastes. Attractive subsidy may be given (one time, rather than giving subsidy for each LPG cylinder) for installing domestic biogas plant. Households can save at least half of the LPG by using biogas from the respective household kitchen waste alone.
Families depending solely on LPG for cooking who may be using a cylinder (14.2kg) a month can extend the cylinder usage for another month if the biogas is also utilised, which means that the investment on biogas will be paid back in a few years. If your biogas plant allows other feedstock also, you may put non-edible oil cakes, agricultural wastes and even aquatic plants to generate more cooking gas.
A domestic biogas system of 1cu.m capacity from BIOTECH, Trivandrum costed me about Rs.13,500 (after subsidy from MNRE) which is sufficient for a small family. If the Government can subsidise the biogas plants to such an extent that it is attractive for all households, it will be beneficial for the country in many ways. The main benefits are as follows.
• Can reduce the demand for LPG – saves fossil fuel, reduces dependence on imported petroleum thereby saving foreign exchange.
• Better solution for disposal of kitchen waste without stench – better environment, reduces the burden of Municipalities / Corporations in the waste movement and processing.
• The slurry produced by the biogas plants is known to be good fertiliser – better for agriculture also. Good medium for growing aquatic plants like azolla and duckweed.
• Utilisation of clean energy from methane which might otherwise be lost.
Awareness should be created among the public on the economical and other benefits of domestic biogas plants.