Biogas technology in India
Biogas technology is being promoted in India chiefly as a supplement under the aspect of rural energy.
It is a crucial additional energy supply for the rural population in the country. India developed
uncomplicated biogas plants for the tropics which are simple to start and operate. Since the fifties the
mass dissemination of biogas plants has been propagated and initiated for rural households, yet this
development did not experience an upswing until the seventies so that by 1980, 100,000
plants had been installed. With the beginning of the 6th 5-year plan in 1981, the National
Project for Biogas Development (NPBD) came into being following the objective of mass
dissemination of household biogas plants with financial support.
Biogas dissemination in India experienced a number of set-backs as a large proportion of the
plants erected were not used or only used to an insufficient extent. Reasons on the one
hand, were the immature technical properties of plants themselves until the beginning of the
eighties and on the other hand, a dissemination strategy which was only minimally developed
and which did not recognise the importance of user training and follow-up services until much
later. Despite this, biogas technology was constantly supported by the Indian government. In
1982, the newly founded Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (DNES) as a
department of the Ministry of Power and Non-Conventional Energy Sources took over central
control of biogas dissemination. In the meantime, there were around 1 million household
biogas plants in India of which 70-80% are assumed to be in operation.
Biogas dissemination is promoted centrally by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy
Sources (MNRE, formerly MNES, DNES). This department consults on and resolves the guidelines
on financial support for biogas technology, commissions assignments in research and
development and decides on the eligibility of new biogas plants for aid. The actual