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Indian oil marketing companies will float an Expression of Interest (EoI) next week to invite from potential investors for setting up compressed bio-gas (CBG) production plants. The event will be marked with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan launching the SATAT initiative.
“It is planned to roll out 5,000 CBG plants across India in a phased manner, with 250 plants by the year 2020, 1,000 plants by 2022, and 5,000 plants by 2025. These plants are expected to produce 15 million tonnes of CBG per annum, which is about 40 per cent of current CNG consumption of 44 million tonnes per annum in the country,” the oil ministry said in a statement.
It added that the move would attract investment of around Rs 1.7 lakh crore and is expected to generate direct employment for 75,000 people and produce 50 million tonnes of bio-manure for crops. SATAT is aimed at providing a sustainable fuel alternative that would benefit vehicle users, farmers and entrepreneurs.
Use of biogas is expected to reduce natural gas and crude oil imports and also acts as buffer against oil and gas price fluctuations. Biogas uptake is likely to help replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial use in the coming years, the release said.
Biogas produced at these CBG plants would be transported in cylinders to the fuel station network of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative. “The 1,500-strong CNG stations network in the country currently serves about 32 lakh gas-based vehicles. The Working Group on Biofuels, set up under the National Policy on Biofuels 2018, is in the process of finalising a pan-India pricing model for CBG,” said the release.
The entrepreneurs would be allowed to separately market other by-products from these plants to enhance returns on investment.
The National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, emphasised on active promotion of advanced biofuels, including CBG. The Government had launched the GOBAR-DHAN (Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources) scheme earlier this year to convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms to CBG and compost. The scheme proposed to cover 700 projects across the country in 2018-19.
CBG networks can be integrated with city gas distribution (CGD) networks. Later, the retailing from OMC fuel stations could be injected into CGD pipelines, too, for efficient distribution and access. The potential for CBG production from various sources in India is estimated at about 62 million tonnes per annum.
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