A biogas carbon offset project in India
Find out what biogas projects are and how they support climate action:
Cow dung provides a great alternative energy source to fossil fuels. The by-product should not be viewed as waste, but instead as an important and renewable raw material. With the right technology, biogas (methane, CH4) can be produced from the dung. Airtight containers and bacteria are the key to success in this process. Thanks to those agents, the biogas can be separated from the dung - without any other energy input. The gas is trapped in airtight containers and cannot escape into the atmosphere. Biogas is completely smell-less and combustible. For families living in rural and very simple conditions, this means no longer having to rely on wood or fossil fuels for cooking. As a result, biogas carbon offset projects save emissions, time and money, and reduce health risks. For small farms, livestock farming provides a livelihood, has a smaller ecological footprint than factory farming and, in addition, has positive ecological effects. The recycling of waste products from animal husbandry, such as dung, therefore, provides a very sensible solution.
Not all countries have state funding to support such projects. This is precisely where funds from the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) can be brought in and provide support. But where does the money come from? The emissions saved from a certified biogas project can be claimed as carbon credits. Businesses can then purchase these credits and the project can be refinanced. This way, both the environment and local people benefit. Biogas is considered renewable energy and offers families energy independence and thus new opportunities to organise their everyday life and work.
An insight into the life of the Singh family in India, Punjab.
The Singh family's farm has received such a biogas plant installation. Like most other families in Punjab, the Singhs used to cook on open fires. Collecting firewood was very time-consuming and harmful to the surrounding forests. Buying wood was also costly. Ms. Jagir Kaur tells us, "In the past, cooking was often not possible when it rained. Everything took a long time, and the children were often late for school," because they had to store firewood in a dry place. "Today everything is better", she says, "thanks to the biogas our work is done on time". The family is now also no longer exposed to the harmful smoke that is produced daily when the wood is burnt.
In the Indian state of Punjab, more than 6,000 biogas plants have already been installed on farms thanks to the carbon financing system. The biogas plants are built according to the so-called "Deenbandhu Biogas Plant Model". They consist of an inlet for the slurry, an underground airtight tank, and an outlet. Due to bacterial fermentation in the tank, the biogas can be extracted through a pipe and supply the gas cooker in the farm families’ kitchens.
By switching from firewood to biogas on the farms in Punjab, about 33,000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved annually over a span of 15 years. In addition, ten permanent jobs will be created through this Gold Standard project.
Contribution to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)
Affordable and Clean Energy
The project provides access to a sustainable way of producing energy without the use of fossil fuels through the construction of over 6,000 biogas plants.
Decent Work and Economic Growth
The project creates local jobs, e.g., for the maintenance of the biogas plants, and provides regular training for the employees.
The use of biogas on farms in Punjab saves an average of 33,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
How do biogas projects help fight global warming?
In biogas facilities, biomass ferments into biogas in sealed digesters. Biomass may consist of organic waste or dung from cows or other animals. In countries such as India and Vietnam, families use gas generated from small biogas facilities for cooking, thereby avoiding the use of wood or charcoal.
Additional greenhouse gas reduction is achieved from the fact that the biomass used does not rot in the open air, which would release methane (CH4).