Challenges faced by Bio-CNG Technology

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December 01, 2022

Why in news?

Bio-CNG has been on the Government agenda since 2018, but the challenges faced by this technology remains unaddressed.

What is Bio-CNG?

  • Bio-CNG - Bio-CNG is also known as Compressed Biogas (CBG).
  • It is an upgraded version of the humble biogas, the dung-based version of which serves as cooking fuel.
  • Compressed Biogas proposes to build large biogas plants that will continuously produce biogas from urban, domestic and industrial wastes.
  • Feedstock - Apart from biodegradable waste, agricultural residue, cow dung and chicken litter and press mud from sugar factories are also used as feedstock in CBG plants.
  • The biogas produced will be stored under pressure in gas cylinders for easy distribution to urban and semi-urban customers as alternative to charcoal and firewood.
  • CH4 content - CBG has methane (CH4) content of more than 90% and has calorific value and other properties similar to Compressed Natural Gas.
  • Application - CBG is used in automotive, industrial and commercial areas.


What is SATAT?

  • Sustainable Alternative towards affordable transportation (SATAT) was launched in 2018 by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).
  • It envisages targeting production of 15 MMT of CBG from 5000 plants by 2023.
  • Under SATAT, oil and gas marketing companies are supposed to pick up ready gas from CBG companies.
  • Advantages
    • Lesser dependence on crude oil import
    • Decarbonisation of the economy
    • Waste management
    • Job creation

What are the challenges faced by Bio-CNG technology?

  • Feedstock availability - The companies are finding it difficult to generate adequate and consistent feedstock.
  • Segregation of wastes - Badly segregated waste can lead to construction/demolition waste or other hard particles entering the digester which not only reduce its energy efficiency but also damage it.
  • Investment - High capital investment is stopping small investors from entering the CBG scene.
  • Limited technical capabilities of municipal bodies - Usually, only one person in the Municipal Solid Waste section is in charge of multiple roles which is too much to handle.
  • Nascent stage - CBG technology also lacks sector experts at the ground level.
  • Distribution Challenges - Under the CBG-CGD synchronisation scheme of SATAT, there is a provision for injecting CBG in the city gas distribution (CGD) network.
  • But the differential tax structure of CNG and CBG is a hurdle for gas distributors from utilising this scheme.
  • Infrastructure issues - Lack of infrastructure also place uncertainty in the user’s consciousness while making a purchase decision.
  • Market for manure - It is mandatory for fertiliser companies to offtake fermented organic manure from CBG companies under SATAT as part of Integrated Nutrient Management.
  • But there are still no buyers.
  • Farmers also find it expensive to buy as compared to the highly-subsidised chemical fertilisers.



  1. Down to Earth│ Challenges faced by Bio-CNG technology
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