An increasing number of innovative farmers in Krishna district are embracing biogas to cater to their energy needs.

Generation of biogas from animal dung has been in practice for long, but the new concept is to generate electricity from the gas, an effective way to end the woes of inflated power bills.

The Union Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, through the New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP), is promoting bio-gas plants in a big way by offering a 40 per cent subsidy on the unit cost. A unit holder, who is usually a farmer or a dairy owner, gets back the invested money within two years of the commencement of operations at the plant.

The Corporation is building one such 200-cubic metre- plant at Lakshmipuram village under Veerulapadu mandal of Krishna district for Healthy Farm Products Ltd., a newly-developed dairy farm project gearing up to launch operations very soon.

“The Rs. 20 lakh-biogas plant can generate 300 units power per day. The Corporation has extended a 40 per cent subsidy (Rs. 8 lakh) while the remaining cost of the project is borne by the dairy owners. With the 20 kw. of power generated, the dairy can save nearly Rs. 3,000 per day, which translates roughly into Rs. 90,000 per month,” says NREDP District Manager Srinivasa Rao.

Pointing to the digester, he says water and cow dung is mixed in 1:1 ratio and pumped into the plant and biogas results from anaerobic fermentation of organic materials. He goes on to explain about the preparation of the input material, the fermentation and methanogenesis, followed by conversion of the biogas to renewable electricity and useful heat with cogeneration/combined heat and power.

“This energy release allows biogas to be used in a gas engine to convert the energy in the gas into electricity and heat,” explain Chennupati Vazeer and V. Madhav, owners of the dairy farm. The plant at Lakshmipuram is likely to commence operation by this month-end another one is fully operational at Veeranki Lockulu, informs Mr. Srinivasa Rao. The Corporation is upbeat about the increasing size of patronage for this innovative mode of fuel. “We are working on five more similar plants at different places in the district. We want apartment-dwellers also to opt for small-size digesters as an answer for their electricity needs and other energy sources,” says Mr. Srinivasa Rao.