With the price of LPG gas cylinders going up, the need of the hour is technology that can provide cooking gas — an efficient fuel — that will help the poor, particularly the rural population.

Vivekananda Kendra-Natural Resources Development (Vk- Nardep), an NGO in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, has come out with a low-volume fixed model Shakthi-Surabhi gas generating plant, aimed at solving the energy problems of the rural community.

The fixed model provides a threefold advantage — nutrient slurry for gardening and agriculture, disposal of waste and hygienic livelihood and, primarily, energy for cooking. But unlike the usual biogas plant, this will be constructed above the ground.

“Skilled masons are required to construct a fixed model Gobar plant [small size], . This is a limiting factor in rural areas. But semi-skilled masons can easily build the low-volume fixed plant Shakthi Surabhi model in a very short time,” says G. Vasudeo, Secretary of the Kendra.

The plant has contributed to energy savings and economic savings for the households in and around the Kanyakumari region where it has been constructed.

During a regular feedback session, the Kendra recorded that many housewives who used to book a cylinder once in two months are now doing so only once in six months. And a majority of homes are individual houses with a small patch of area growing vegetables for the kitchen. The slurry removed from the plant is used as manure, thus providing households with organic vegetables for domestic consumption throughout the year. A one cubic metre plant generates gas for about an hour-and-a-half everyday. The bio-methanation plant has also been installed in institutions like Auroville in Puducherry.

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