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A renewable energy revolution, rooted in agriculture

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental Conservation


Source: The Hindu

Context: The first bio-energy plant of a private company in the Sangrur district of Punjab will produce Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) from paddy straw, thus converting agricultural waste into wealth.


Benefits of CBG plant:

  • From paddy stubble, CBG valued at ₹46 per kg as per the SATAT scheme will be produced.
  • Paddy straw from one acre of the crop can yield energy output (CBG) worth more than ₹17,000 — an addition of more than 30% to the main output of grain.
  • Slurry or fermented organic manure from the plant (CBG) will be useful as compost to replenish soils heavily depleted of organic matter and reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers.
  • The CBG plant will also provide employment opportunities to rural youth in the large value chain.



Significance of crop residue supply chain:

FAO’s study suggests developing a crop residue supply chain in Punjab that can allow the collection, storage and final use of rice straw for other productive services, specifically for the production of renewable energy.

      • With 30% of the rice straw produced in Punjab, a 5% CBG production target set by the Government of India scheme, “Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)” can help increase the usage of rice straw.  

What is Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG)?

Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) is produced naturally through the process of anaerobic decomposition (without oxygen) of biomass sources like crop residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.

      • It has the potential to replace Compressed Natural Gas in automotive, industrial, and commercial uses in the future.


Benefits of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG):

      • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution
      • Additional revenue source for farmers
      • Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment
      • Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals
      • Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil
      • Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations


What is stubble burning?

It is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for the sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and the sowing of wheat.

Impact: Stubble burning results in the emission of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.



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Other Waste-to-Energy technology:

  • Landfill Gas (LFG) recovery: Methane gas is extracted from solid waste deposited in a landfill.
  • Torrefaction: It involves heating straw, grass and sawmill residue to over 250-degree C.
  • Polycrack Technology: It converts feedstocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon, and water.


Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Compressed Bio Gas.
  2. About CPCB.
  3. About CAQM
  4. Byproducts of stubble Burning.

Mains Link:

Q. Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three mega cities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so? (2021)