Biogas is a type of gas that is formed by the biological breakdown of organic matter in an oxygen deficient environment. It is counted as an ecofriendly biofuel. Biogas contains 60% methane and carbon dioxide. It can be employed for generating electricity and also as automotive fuel. Biogas can be used as a substitute for compressed natural gas (CNG).
The advantages of biogas are manifold. Biogas by itself can positively affect the economy of rural areas. The principal benefits of biogas include:
Conversion of natural organic waste into fertilizer: The conversion is carried out in a machine called the polythene bio gas digester. Cow dung slurry is put into the machine. The product is organic fertilizer of high quality. The fertilizer obtained is rich in nitrogen. It has been analyzed, that, fertilizer made by the polythene bio gas digester contains nitrogen content 3 times more than the product made by conventional processes. It is completely natural and free from harmful synthetic chemicals.
Eco friendly energy production: The calorific value of biogas is equal to that of half liter of diesel oil (6 kWh/m3). Methane is a key component of the gas. Biogas is fully capable of replacing other rural energy sources like wood, hard coal, kerosene, plant residues, and propane. Hard coal possesses a calorific value of 8.5kWh/kg per 0.7 kilograms. Larger biogas plants generate and feed electricity into mainstream power grids. Smaller biogas production units can support lighting and cooking requirements
Considerable workload reduction in rural areas: This is particularly true for rural women engaged in day to day household work. Installing a biogas unit will relieve her of the tiring and tedious job of collecting and ferrying firewood. Since, biogas burns cleanly, the rural homes will not suffer from smoke and consequently rural denizens will suffer less from physical problems like bronchial complications. Cooking is also easier with a gas stove and takes less time.
Visible improvement in rural hygiene: Biogas contributes positively to rural health conditions. Biogas plants lower the incidence of respiratory diseases. Diseases like asthma, lung problems, and eye infections have considerably decreased in the same area when compared to the pre-biogas plant times. Biogas plants also kill pathogens like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and paratyphoid.
Environmental benefits on a global scale: Biogas plants significantly lower the greenhouse effects on the earth's atmosphere. The plants lower methane emissions by entrapping the harmful gas and using it as fuel.
Protects the earth's natural resources: 1 biogas plant is computed to save 32 liters of kerosene and 4 tons of firewood every year. The organic chemical plant also contributes indirectly to the protection of soil.
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Mario I. Blejer is a former governor of the Central Bank of Argentina and former Director of the Center for Central Banking Studies at the Bank of England. Eduardo Levy Yeyati is Professor of Economics at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution.
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James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University. Director of Program in International Finance and Macroeconomics at the National Bureau of Economic Research.