After ethanol, Bihar eyes compressed bio gas to power state’s growth

Compressed bio gas

Patna: Bihar is working on a project to develop the state as a hub of compressed  bio gas (CBG) to cut down the dependence on Gulf countries for supply of auto fuel. CBG, generally produced from agricultural wastes, is being seen as viable alternative to the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Industries Department on promotion of the CBG, Bihar’s Industries Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said that more than 100 companies have evinced their interest to set up CBG plant in the state, owing to its potential in agricultural wastes and foodgrains.

He said that the industry friendly gesture of the state was encouraging entrepreneurs to reap high on the state’s potential in grain production to produce ethanol. “Apart from sugar factories, a number of plants are being set up to produce grain-based ethanol in the state, which is making Bihar a hub of ethanol production,” said the Minister.

Sasaram & Muzaffarpur may see first plants of CBG

Officials of the Industries Department said that a few investors have proposed to set up CBG plants at Sasaram and Muzaffarpur districts. The production of CBG in a large scale would not only help Bihar generate huge employment for the locals, but would also help the country save dollars being spent on purchasing diesel and petrol from other countries. “Many countries, which solely reply on fossil fuels to power automotive sectors, might have to run through rough phase if the Russian-Ukraine water prolonged. In that situation, CBG could emerge as the saviour for the country,” said Hussain, adding that it would also help offset the damages to the environment.

Compressed bio gas

Maize, sugarcane save country’s spending on fuel

Farmers of Bihar are getting good return of their agriculture produce, particularly sugarcane and maize, owing their use on production of ethanol, which is being blended in petrol. Bihar became the first state to produce ethanol from grains. Department officials said that the department was considering the proposal to set up 16 grain-based plants for ethanol production. The demand for ethanol is set to grow, as the Central government has decided to its blending in petrol by 20% in the next couple of years. Currently, the existing policy allows 10% blending of ethanol in petrol.

Similarities between CNG and CBG

Technical Director of the Industries Department Sanjeev Kumar said that gases would be the main fuel for powering the automobiles in the coming years. He said that composition of CBG and CNG is almost similar. CBG is better than the CNG in terms of efficiency, as vehicles being run on the CBG would give 15% extra mileage. About 10 tonne of agriculture waste is likely to produce 1 tonne of CBG.

The Bio-Gas is purified to remove hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapour and compressed as Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG), which has methane (CH4) content of more than 90%. CBG has calorific value and other properties similar to CNG and hence can be utilized as green renewable automotive fuel. Thus it can replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial areas, given the abundance of biomass availability within the country.

Bihar to thrive on CBG production

State head of Indian Oil Corporation Vibhash Kumar said the India was the third largest consumer of energy in the world. Currently, coal is being used as chief source of energy, followed by petrol and diesel and then by gases. Consumption of gases is barely 6% as compared to other sources of energy. “We intend to increase the consumption of gas-based energy consumption by 15% in the next couple of years. Currently, we have 60 CNG fuelling stations in the state, which would be increased to 200 next year. CBG would be sold at the CNG refilling stations,” said the IOC officer.

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