The biomethane generation potential of wastes and wastewaters from the sericulture, fisheries, and agro-industrial sectors in India

Akashdeep Dey, R. camilla Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The global problem of climate change and difficulties related to energy access, air pollution, and water pollution in India (and other developing countries) necessitate the need to look for alternative clean, local, and low-carbon energy sources for displacing fossil fuels. This paper analyses the existing waste-to-biomethane potential of the sericulture, fisheries, and agro-industrial sectors in India, which have mostly been neglected previously in India's waste-to-energy assessments. In the process, the volume of wastewaters generated from India's agro-industries are also estimated, data on which are scarce in the academic and grey literature. India's annual biomethane potentials (for 2018–19) were found to be 88 million m3, 207 million m3, and 3514 million m3 from the three sectors, respectively. To assess the energy generation potential of these wastes, a comprehensive literature review was conducted and data on residue-to-product ratios, results of proximate analyses, and specific biomethane yields were either compiled or calculated. The gross thermal energy and electricity generation potentials are 132 PJ and 22 TWh respectively; between 19 and 95 million people can benefit from such waste-to-energy production, depending on the end use of the biomethane for electricity generation or as a domestic cooking fuel. The corresponding mean removal of organic pollution from India's surface waters can be between 5.5 and 9.3 million tonnes of chemical oxygen demand. For the end uses of biomethane in electricity generation and cooking, the cumulative GHG abatements attributable to these industries are 11.4 million tonnes and 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent respectively. Besides the numeric results reported, this paper also contains a comprehensive compilation of data on waste characteristics and biomethane productions. The present status of biogas generation and related policy implementation in India are reviewed and discussed. Overall, our findings indicate that biomethane from these wastes and wastewaters can generate substantial energy for India, is in line with recent government policies, and can aid India in achieving six Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-59
JournalEnergy for sustainable development
Early online date3 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


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