1. Success Story

Kolar Biogas Project

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

Myclimate and its local partner SKG Sangha are contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to less degradation of the forest. The carbon offset project “Kolar Biogas Project” is contributing in a big way in changing the rural condition in Karnataka.

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Even though the state of Karnataka is a leader in the information technology industry and biotechnologies, with its capital city being the famous Bangalore, more than half of its inhabitants live off agriculture. The rural areas are disconnected from the cities and the people live in extremely simple conditions. In the rural areas, like in the Kolar district where the project is mainly being implemented, literacy does not always reach 50 per cent of the population. In such areas, the energy needs of the local population for cooking are mainly met using firewood. The traditional firewood cooking stoves create indoor air pollution in the houses. The cow dung is not processed and the farmers use chemical fertilizers in their fields.

With a population of more than 1.2 billion, India is the world’s largest democracy. Over the past decade, the country’s integration into the global economy has been accompanied by impressive economic growth. India´s diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries and a multitude of services. Still, slightly more than half of the work force is employed in agriculture. While agriculture’s share in the country’s economy is gradually declining, India remains a global agricultural powerhouse. It has the world’s largest area devoted to wheat, rice and cotton, and is the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses and spices. The country is also home to the world’s largest number of cattle, mainly consisting of buffaloes. In parallel with India’s remarkable economic growth, it is important to keep in mind that India is still a developing country with less than 75 per cent literacy and with entire regions living in a most precarious situation using chemical fertilizers in their fields.

In each household, a family-size biodigester is installed together with a biogas-based cooking stove unit. The biogas units are constructed of bricks, sand, cement, pipes, pipe fittings, metal clips, wire and gas burners, with all materials being produced locally. The capacity of the biodigesters is either two or three cubic meters of biogas per day. The biogas unit size is chosen based on the number and type of cattle owned by the household and the number of people living in it. The plants are built by the participants with the help of the SKG bricklayers. Cattle dung and wastewater are fed into the biodigester each day by being added to a mixing tank above the ground, which has an inlet pipe to a digester chamber, which is below the ground. The generated slurry remains in the chamber for approximately 40 days and breaks down anaerobically, producing biogas. This biogas builds up above the slurry and remains in the biodigester until it is released www.myclimate.org/carbon-offset-projects Traditional inefficient cooking stove, such as was used before cooking with biogas began (cooking situation without project). through the gas outlet pipe at the top of the chamber when the gas burner in the household is turned on. This means that the pipe at the top of the biodigester leads to the cooking stove in the household. The biodigester also produces the slurry, which is pushed into the displacement chamber as the biogas builds up in the digester and finally exits through the outlet tank. It is this slurry that can be used as fertilizer to improve crop yields

Project implementation

Myclimate works with SKG Sangha, an Indian nongovernmental organization, to implement the project. SKG Sangha has already successfully implemented over 100,000 biogas units in India over the last 18 years and plans to complete the installation of these 10,000 units in three to four years. The implementation of the project started in 2012, and there are currently around 1,500 biodigesters installed already. One of the critical aspects of the implementation of this project is that every participant of the project should have access to support and be able to maintain their biodigester in a sustainable way. It is one of the reasons why climate has decided to work with SKG Sangha. The structure of the NGO is set up in such a way that groups of employees only oversee installations and make sure they are available and present for questions, remarks and to help if necessary. Furthermore, one member of each community is trained and becomes an integral part of the project´s success. They are responsible for maintaining the plants as well as directly supporting the participants if they have technical questions. On top of that, visits are made regularly to keep communication active and constantly support the participants. Projects under the Gold Standard scheme, as compared to other schemes, have to fulfill strict criteria regarding the involvement of stakeholders in the project development process and on the documentation of environmental and socio-economic impact. All potential issues were discussed in detail in the stakeholder consultation in December 2008. No negative or critical environmental impacts were identified.

Financial aspect of project

Each participant is responsible for financing 15 per cent of the material necessary to build the biogas plant. The rest is covered by the carbon credits organized and supervised by myclimate. In order to ensure such a financing plan, myclimate managed the application and the documentation of the project and took care of the follow-up work during the whole process necessary for a project to be rewarded with carbon credits.

Finally, the slurry produced by the biogas units is a valuable organic fertilizer. The household does not need to buy chemical fertilizer anymore, once again saving important money here.

Monitoring is done in a hierarchical manner. In each village cluster where the project is implemented, a local person is selected and hired to be the motivator. He is responsible for accurate and transparent record keeping, quality control and monitoring the functionality of the biogas units. They are also in charge of reporting to the regional supervisor, who in turn reports to the project coordinator and his team at the main office.


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