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Bioenergy deployment for climate smart development: The case of biogas for cooking in India

Chanakya, HN and Balachandra, P (2013) Bioenergy deployment for climate smart development: The case of biogas for cooking in India. [Book Chapter]

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203141564-22


Biomass, mainly in the form of fuelwood and hardwood agro-residues, is a primary energy source for rural populations in the developing world (Bhattacharya 2002). Most climate change models predict significant shifts in precipitation patterns, reductions in tree growth, and consequent drops in wood biomass (Guruprasanna et al. 2006; Panduranga et al. 2008). These impacts are expected to seriously affect the world�s 1.8 billion poor, a third of whom live in India. Therefore, a delicate balance needs to be struck between annual woody biomass production and annual usage in Asia generally, and India specifically. Yet striking this balance will be difficult. If current trends hold, more woody biomass will be burnt than produced, leading to large net carbon dioxide (CO 2) fluxes. A shortfall in woody biomass will reduce the accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of fuelwood, forcing the poor to switch to inferior fuels such as crop residues and animal dung (Ravindranath and Hall 1995). Such a transition would lead to a loss of environmental resilience and an increase in CO countries such as India is about four times higher than woody biomass (Jagadish 1997) and its availability is about twice as high as woody biomass after allowing for fodder and other uses (Ravindranath et al. 2005). Thus, there is a critical need to help vulnerable groups capture the potential of soft biomass without degrading the environment or compromising socio-economic development. Fortunately, modern biogas plants that convert soft biomass to methane (CH for fuel can fill this need (Jagadish et al. 1998; Chanakya et al. 2005). It is through this conversion process that organic components of soft biomass normally lost as CO and technology specialists now regard soft biomass as an increasingly attractive, untapped resource for decentralized rural energy. Moreover, an important natural function of soft biomass is its return to soil as compost, enriching the humus and plant nutrient content through a process known as cycling. Generating methane from soft biomass is therefore a climate smart option that will not interrupt nutrient cycling, and at the same time, provide a vital fuel source for vulnerable populations in Asia. A variety of soft biomass feedstocks and ways of conversion to biogas have been studied (Chanakya and Moletta 2004; Gunaseelan 1997). The biomass-to-biogas plants, if effectively deployed, can help poor populations improve their climate resilience and reduce GHG emissions, which is an important pathway to a low carbon climate resilient economy (LCE) in rural Asia. Realizing this potential requires an effective enabling environment wherein both biogas users and investors have clearly defined incentives to support the penetration and expansion of bioenergy technologies (BETs), primarily for cooking. Using the case of India, this chapter identifies the techno-social, financial, and information barriers to exploiting biomass and discusses the prospects of bundling biogas projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to overcome these challenges. © 2012 selection and editorial material, Ancha Srinivasan, Frank Hiroshi Ling and Hideyuki Mori; individual chapters, the contributors.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publication: Climate Smart Development in Asia: Transition to Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Economies
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Taylor and Francis
Department/Centre: Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences > Management Studies
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2022 12:33
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 12:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/71139

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