Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said there are plans to set up bio-Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) plants in India. He made this comment after visiting a bio-CNG plant in Stuttgart, Germany, where he was briefed by officials on how agricultural waste can be converted into energy. Pradhan told ANI, "Materials like straw and dung are considered waste in India. This can be used to produce energy. I had come to see a plant that uses similar materials to produce bio-CNG. Such plants can be made in India. We are understanding the business model and technology. If it's successful, we can set up bio-CNG plants in all villages of India."
Pradhan added that the Centre is working to ensure the doubling of farmers' income by 2022. Explaining the working of a bio-CNG plant, Pradhan said, "The farmers first collect the agricultural waste. It is then processed and gives rise to raw gas. Then, it is converted into electricity. After certain mechanical and chemical processes, it gives rise to pure CNG, which can also be used in energy farming." Asked where the central government was planning to set up such plants on a pilot basis in India, Pradhan said it could be done in some big villages and towns. Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) Chairman Sanjeev Singh later said that Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) have been signed in the energy sector with business partners.
Pradhan is currently on a two-day visit to Germany, after attending the 7th Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) International Seminar at the Imperial Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday. In the seminar, Pradhan stressed on the need for responsible pricing of fuel. "It is high time to move to responsible pricing, one that balances the interests of both the producer and consumer. We also need to move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas," he said. Pradhan further sought for the intervention of OPEC members to ensure sustainable fuel price.
"Crude prices are creating stress throughout the global economy. It is giving pain to us in India. The global economic outlook already has threats from trade wars. My fear is that his will lead to energy poverty in many parts of the World," he added. The Union Minister also pitched for "responsible pricing" which balances the interests of both producer and consumer.