With the policy for ex-situ management of crop stubble in place this year, the biggest bio-energy plant in India is all set to be inaugurated in Lehragaga, Punjab on Tuesday, October 18.
Coming up with an investment of Rs 220 crore, the plant is being set up by Germany-based Verbio AG’s Indian subsidiary. It will be using crop residue (straw) to produce biogas and manure, with an aim to reduce 1.5 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is the first major project to give a fillip to the ex-situ management of stubble in Punjab, and prevent farmers from burning the stubble to prepare them for the next wheat season.
Verbio will be producing 33 tonnes of compressed biogas (CBG) and 600-650 tonnes of fermented organic manure per day. The CBG produced will be supplied to 10 outlets of the Indian Oil Corporation.
A policy for ex-situ management was recently prepared by the state government and given a go-ahead by the Commission for Air Quality Control last month. The state government has also formed a task force for its smooth implementation. The idea is to utilize 2.10 million tonnes of the total 18.32 million tonnes expected paddy straw production this year through ex-situ and raise it to 4.88 million tonnes by 2023-24
Sh. Ashish Kumar, Managing Director of Verbio India says that though some entrepreneurs are setting up CBG units in Punjab, it would be helpful if the commercial off-take of CBG is mandated for various companies. The Agriculture Department in the state is already working on this. Sh. Kumar said he hopes that a system to earn carbon credits, too, is put in place soon.
Three years ago, the state government, in an affidavit to the Centre, had said the only option they had for stubble management, was in-situ management. This was done in order to get Central assistance for the crop residue management by giving hundreds of stubble management machines to farmers on subsidy. However, for better management of stubble, the AAP government decided to also go in for ex-situ management.
As many as 41 CBG plants are already in different stages of being set up in the state. Among them, five are in Ludhiana and four each are coming up in Jalandhar, Bathinda and Gurdasapur. Three projects each are also coming up in Moga and Hoshiarpur. Already have tied up with City Gas Distribution Company (through GAIL) for off-take of CBG through their CNG pipeline.
The plant will be using crop residue (straw) to produce biogas and manure, with an aim to reduce 1.5 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This is the first major project to give a fillip to the ex-situ management of stubble in Punjab, and prevent farmers from burning the stubble to prepare them for the next wheat season.