Potential untapped industrial energy source
A SERIOUS and important report was published in some English-language dailies on August 19. It was on the early warning by the prime minister’s energy adviser for industrial and many other natural gas users, highlighting the shrinking natural gas resources, which are naturally finite.
We must, therefore, go for other sources of fuel available to meet our energy needs. In my serious and sincere opinion, all our institutions, schools, colleges and universities, having large manpower living or working at one place, like cantonments, police lines, mills and factories (like garments and jute and textiles) and those organisations with residential quarters, must immediately set up underground digesters for generating methane gas from human excreta, and not cow dung, a useful fertiliser substitute.
This can be done locally, and local expertise — an NGO is building and installing these — is available, with all locally available materials; and at a relatively low cost. This one-time capital expenditure has tremendous financial return on investment as it will provide free methane gas as long as people are using toilets. Once after say two or three years, the digesters are cleaned out and the residue can be dried and also used as an odourless solid fuel.
Thailand has been using it for quite some years, and most of their public buildings, hospitals, big hotels, offices, military cantonments and police barracks provide methane gas which is piped all over. This has been a great boon for a country that has to import all its solid and liquid fuel, and has no natural gas resources.
Our authorities must take it up, with all seriousness, as we have ample population, both in rural and urban areas, to provide all the raw material needed for producing methane gas easily.
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