BETTING ON BIOGAS: EXCELLENT RENEWABLE ENERGY

excellent renewable picBIOGAS TECHNOLOGY AND ITS KEY ROLE IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA

Deepak Gadhia, Chairman of Excellent Renewable Energy, sees renewable energy as key for securing India’s energy survival and sustainability. How is Excellent Renewable Energy is addressing this now?

India has been mainly dependent on coal as fuel for power generation. However, climate change, depleting coal reserves, infrastructure constraints, and government policy favoring the renewable energy sector are propelling a new generation of social enterprises to develop alternative energy sources to supply the world’s energy needs. “Mankind has no other option but to embrace renewable energy and earlier the better,” said Deepak Gadhia, Chairman of Excellent Renewable Energy. “It has become imperative for its own survival and for sustainable growth.” Excellent Renewable Energy is convinced that biogas technology is going to be crucial for rural development, and aims to use biogas technology for cooking, to produce electricity, and to power air-conditioners and cars, particularly in rural and remote areas in India. As he takes on challenges at Excellent Renewable Energy, Gadhia is equipped with 25 years of experience in the renewable energy sector, namely in the solar energy field. Gadhia manufactured and installed the world’s largest solar steam cooking system that created the capacity to cook 50,000 meals per day, and converted villages to smoke-free villages.

Now Deepak Gadhia sees biogas as the future for India. “70% of the Indian population live in villages, we have a very large animal population, and animal husbandry is one of the key occupations in villages,” said Gadhia, alluding to the fact that this results in a lot of animal dung being produced. For him, a biogas plant is a win-win situation for everyone: not only does the technology dispose of the waste hygienically but it can also be used for energy and as a biological fertilizer. Indeed, Gadhia states that “Biogas is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide,” so converting it to energy will protect the environment while also making it a useful power supply.

Gadhia believes that staying close to developments on the ground and evolving and developing based on the needs of the market is essential for sustainable growth. “We do not go with a fixed product but design our system/plant to suit the requirements of our clients and the raw materials available in the area” said Gadhia. The system also does not require complicated high technology to operate; repairs are made using locally based staff. Excellent Renewable Energy’s biogas technology potential also does not have to be limited to India’s borders alone; given its low cost and ease of use, it can be replicated in other emerging markets.

To date, Excellent Renewable Energy has installed 10-15 biogas plants. They are currently building a 1.2 MW biogas plant for Muni Seva Ashram. “[Excellent Renewable Energy] has done some remarkable projects for the first time in India and they have become landmark projects,” said Gadhia.The projects have become so successful that the Indian government is encouraging the growth of this sector: the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Gujarat government introduced a support program and capital subsidy to encourage more companies to enter the biogas market. “What we have shown is that Biogas plants are key to reducing global warming,” said Gadhia. “Now we are gearing up to do hundreds/thousands of Biogas plants and soon we will be able to show measurable impact in reduction of greenhouse gases.”