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A Green Oscar for India?

June 9, 2007

As many as two Indian projects – one in Kerala and the other in Karnataka, have been short-listed (amongst ten other projects) for the Ashden awards for sustainable energy. These awards are dubbed as the Green Oscars and it’s a matter of pride that two Indian projects are amongst the finalists.

The other countries that have projects shortlisted are Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Lao PDR, Nepal, Peru, Philippines and Tanzania.

Actually, its not surprising that India is at the forefront of these awards. Producing bio-fuels is something that India has an expertise in. Not only is this industry a fairly well developed one here, there are educational institutions with training courses to provide technical assistance. Today in India, its not just biogas technologies, but also other alternate energy sources such as the wind and the sun which are used to provide energy. The focus today is on making methods economically viable by roping in the private sector. India in fact plans to become a global leader in new and renewable energy technologies.

Coming to the projects which are finalists for the Ashden awards – the company in Kerala, Bio-tech, converts food waste into energy and the Karnataka firm SKG Sangha produces bio-gas from dung. Biotech’s energy has been used to produce gas for cooking and even electricity for lighting purposes. Out of Bio-tech’s 12,000 domestic plants (individual households use their own waste to run these and make a profit) 160 use human waste from eco-friendly latrines to avoid contamination of ground water! They also have 220 institutional and muncipal plants which convert waste collected from markets to generate power.

SKG Sangha’s bio-gas has supplied cooking gas to thousands of rural families in Karnataka as well as fertilizer/vermin compost.

These ventures have also generated economic sustenance for the poor, not just to save the cost of running their home, but also by selling the extra fertilizer/gas generated. SKG Sangha has over 43,000 biogas plants in Karnataka.

Just how does a bio-gas plant at home help? This is how:

Households with a biogas plant replace about 30% of LPG or about 44 kg per year, saving Rs1,200 per year. This means that the family can pay back their contribution to the cost of the plant in about three years, and even more quickly if they collect extra food waste from shops to increase their biogas production. The effluent or residue in the biogas plant also makes good fertiliser which results in higher food production.


And the other obvious benefit? A clean and healthy environment.

(Photo from Ashden)

Related Reading: A profitable way to dispose of garbage (Chennai)
Organic food can save theworld

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2007 10:48 am

    Great post. I was looking for something on Green Technology in India and came acros your post.


  2. June 11, 2007 10:09 am

    Very interesting topic. I’ve been writing a bit about food waste being used to make energy, but hadn’t seen this on a household level. How many homes in India have their own bio-fuel producer? And when you use that term, is that a synonym for anaerobic digestion?


  3. June 11, 2007 11:44 am

    Jonathan, there are small pockets where projects such as these have made a difference at the household level. The idea is to make this widespread as it makes economic sense in a poor country like India. But as to the actual number, I do not know. However the number is very small. There are several projects like these all over the country but the numbers are small.
    and yes vermiculture is used if that is what you mean.

  4. December 12, 2007 11:47 pm

    I think that bio gas plant maintenance is costly for house holds. My maternal grandfather had biogas plant for house hold in his village but it has been dismantled and now they are using petro-gas. My grand father is a politician and he was enough rich to setup biogas plant for his house hold. There is way to make bio gas cheap. Common biogas plants should be setup for needs of whole village and tens or hundreds in number of people of the village should be convinced about importance of biogas.

  5. Sadhu Swarup permalink
    December 14, 2008 9:52 pm

    I understand that there are over 2 million biogas plants in India. But how many are working on a regular basis?
    Considering that the cattle population in India is large, is it not worth while to collect cow dung at district level and organise centralised production of bio gas, which should be used in gas turbines to produce electricity, because it is, I think, easier to distribute electrical energy. What are the likely constraints for such a project? I feel that such production can be organised in the co-operative sector if the project is technically feasible. Can you give some details please?
    Sadhu Swarup

  6. guma job permalink
    January 11, 2009 6:48 pm

    more information amd pictures on how to do it on alarge scale

  7. Dominic Mumo permalink
    October 7, 2009 7:15 pm

    I’m greatly impressed by this bio fuel project bravo!I’m in Africa- Kenya and i believe this is a new dawn of feasible solution of cheap source of energy and fertilizer.can you kindly tell me how i can practically train with you.I’m ready to spread this good new throughout my the same time this a nice project in anti-global warming campaign.please communicate to me,even if it means coming to train in Indian I’m ready.

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