Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) and GOBAR-DHAN Scheme

Context: SATAT is an initiative aimed at setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and make it available in the market for use in automotive fuels by inviting Expression of Interest from potential entrepreneurs.

Analysis

  • The initiative was launched in October 2018 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in association with Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) viz. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Implementation

  • Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs.
  • CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative.
  • The entrepreneurs would be able to separately market the other by-products from these plants, including bio-manure, carbon-dioxide, etc., to enhance returns on investment.
  • It is planned to roll out 5,000 Compressed Bio-Gas plants across India by 2025 in a phased manner with a target of 15 MMT per year.
  • Indian oil marketing companies are offering to private entrepreneurs assured price and offtake guarantee. The SATAT initiative is in line with the goals of AatmaNirbhar BharatSwachh Bharat Mission and boosting MSME sector.
  • Reserve Bank of India has included CBG projects under Priority Sector that will help in getting the loan for CBG plant. 
  • The National Policy on Biofuels 2018 emphasises active promotion of advanced bio-fuels, including CBG.

Background

  • Bio-gas, the most common form of bio-fuel, is a clean form of energy.
  • Bio-gas is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic (an environment absent of oxygen) decomposition from waste/bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, kitchen waste, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, poultry droppings etc.
  • Due to the high content of methane in biogas (typically 50-75%) biogas is flammable, and therefore produces a deep blue flame, and can be used as an energy source.
  • One of the biggest advantages of biogas is that it takes a problematic gas (methane) present in decomposing waste, and converts it into a much safer form (carbon dioxide).
  • Methane gas has approximately 20 to 30 times the heat-trapping capabilities of carbon dioxide.
  • After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has pure methane content of over 95%.
  • Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential.
  • With calorific value (~52,000 KJ/kg) and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel.
  • Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.
  • The potential for Compressed Bio-Gas production from various sources in India is estimated at about 62 million tonnes per annum.

Benefits of the programme

  • There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:
  1. Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution;
  2. Additional revenue source for farmers;
  3. Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment;
  4. Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals;
  5. Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil;
  6. Boost to the availability of more affordable transport fuels,
  7. Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations.

GOBAR-DHAN

  • The Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, has launched the GOBAR-DHAN (Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources) scheme earlier this year to convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms to CBG and compost.
  • The programme will be funded under the Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) component of Swachh Bharat MissionGramin (SBM-G) to benefit households in identified villages through Gram Panchayats.
  • The objective of the scheme is to increase rural income, rural jobs and to keep villages clean through solid waste management.
  • Accordingly, this scheme aims to positively impact the Gram Panchayats with 3Es, which are as following:
  1. Energy: Self-reliance with respect to energy through the utilization of agricultural and animal waste to generate bio-energy through bio-gas plants.
  2. Empowerment: Engaging rural people, especially women self-help groups in construction, management and day to day operations of biogas plants.
  3. Employment: Generating jobs among the rural youth and women through a collection of waste, transportation to treatment plants, management of treatment plant, sale and distribution of biogas generated, etc.
  • The scheme is intended to manage and convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, bio-slurry, bio-gas and bio-CNG.

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