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NEW DELHI : State-owned Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) on Monday signed a pact with South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to set up a waste-to-energy plant in the national capital to convert municipal solid waste into compressed bio-gas (CBG) for fuelling CNG-run vehicles.

India’s biofuels policy, which aims to provide financial and fiscal incentives specific to a biofuel type, categorized biofuels as first-generation (1G), second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) fuels. The first generation category of biofuels includes bioethanol and biodiesel. The second generation comprises ethanol and municipal solid waste. The third-generation includes bio-compressed natural gas (CNG).

“The agreement was signed as a part of extension of SATAT initiative of the government under synchronization scheme. The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme envisages setting up of 5000 CBG plants by 2023-24 with production target of 15 MMTPA, facilitating the creation of new employment opportunities and enhancing farmers' income," union petroleum and natural gas ministry said in a statement.

This comes in the backdrop of the government’s aim to develop a 1 trillion biofuel economy, with the state-run oil marketing companies investing 10,000 crore for setting up 12 second-generation biorefineries.

“As a part of the MoU, SDMC shall provide a designated area at the identified site in Hastsal in West Zone to IGL for setting up Biogas plant and CBG Station. SDMC shall also be providing assured regular supply of segregated biodegradable waste (approx. 100 TPD) to IGL for running the proposed CBG plant," the statement said.

“… the solid waste is a big problem in the country and needs to be solved quickly. Only 14% of the solid waste was processed in 2014 but in seven years, the figure has gone upto 70% due to success of Swacch Bharat Mission," the statement added.

This assumes importance given that India is the world’s third-largest oil importer, with imports increasing. Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March 2015 set a target of lowering import dependence on oil by 10 percentage points to 67% by 2022, when the country will celebrate 75 years of Independence.

“The expected production of CBG from this plant is expected to be approx. 4000 kg per day. However, this volume of CBG generated would not be sufficient to cater to expected vehicular demand under CNG. Therefore, an Integrated CBG station shall be established to cater to CNG demand of general public as well as captive demand for SDMC vehicles. The residual bio-manure/organic slurry will be further value addition and shall be sold in the market," the statement added.

With India’s domestic energy production being low, energy security is an important focus area for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government as was articulated by Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech on 15 August.

“This MoU shall be another step towards developing an ecosystem in the country for the production of CBG from various waste and biomass sources leading to multiple benefits like reduction of natural gas imports, reduction of GHG emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, remunerative income to farmers, employment generation, effective waste management etc," the statement said.

India’s domestic oil production continued to falter in August with the crude oil production down 2.29% as compared to the corresponding period last year. However, according to the monthly production report released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, there was a 20.23% increase in gas production in August.

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