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Waste to Wealth: For these families, LPG is now alternate fuel

Waste to Wealth: For these families, LPG is now alternate fuel

Context:

Prime Minister has talked of converting gobar (cattle dung) into cooking gas and launching a national Gobar-Dhan scheme in his latest Mann Ki Baat radio talk. He had pointed to the potential bio-energy conversion opportunity from the estimated 3 million tonnes of dung generated by India’s 300 million bovine population.

But at Lambra village in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district women have been running entirely on gobar gas for over one-and-a-half years.

A case study of Lambra village in Punjab

  • Among 44 households, out of Lambra’s 300-odd, that are currently getting metered biogas supply to their kitchens from the 100 m3 capacity plant, commissioned in June 2016 at a cost of Rs 32 lakh. All the 44 families have practically stopped using LPG cylinders.
  • The brain behind the biogas plant — which can process about 2,500 kg of dung daily — is Jaswinder Singh, a 32-year-old MCA (Master of Computer Applications) and cooperative management diploma holder, who is also a resident of Lambra.
  • The idea of setting up a centralised community-level biogas plant he got while visiting South Korea, on a group study tour sponsored by the Punjab government and the National Cooperative Union of India.

Working:

  • The Lambra Kangri Multipurpose Cooperative Service society funded plant collects dung from house to house in a tractor-driven trolley having two bins and a weighing machine.
  • The dung supplied is first weighed before being loaded on to the bins, which open and unload the material from below at the plant’s gobar feeding point.
  •  The plant also has a 25-feet deep pit, where the raw dung is mixed with water using an 8-horsepower machine.
  • The mixed dung gets decomposed in a bio-digester and the resultant biogas produced is, then, captured and conveyed through underground pipes till about 600 metres.
  • From there, it is further carried via 100 poles and over-ground pipes for supplying to individual homes within a 2-km radius. There are gas-reading metres in each of these consuming homes.

Collection of slurry:

  • The biogas plant also has a separate pit for collection of slurry from the mixing of dung and water.
  • This bio-digested slurry is sold at Rs 800 per 5,000-litre tanker, with those supplying dung to the plant getting it at Rs 600.
  • The biogas is being sold at Rs 10 per m3 for up to 10 units of consumption per month, while Rs 8 for between 10 and 20 units, and Rs 6 for above 20 units.
  • Each household gets a daily SMS message on the value of dung supplied by it. Any amount in excess or below the value of the gas consumed is deposited into or debited from their bank account with the Lambra Kangri society. An average family’s consumption is 1.5-2 m3 daily.

 

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