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Independence from LPG, Kerosene, Petrol and Diesel

By ananthu at December 26, 2004 12:48 AM

In the Times of India dated Dec, 8th, 2004, you might have read an article on the editorial page by Arun Firodia, Chairman of the Kinetic group of companies. In it, he suggests that we can rid ourselves of the dependency on imported LPG, kerosene, diesel and petrol by making use of our huge cow population (250 million) and huge wastelands (25 million hectares). Those of who have read this article might have wondered – is this really possible? Is there really such a simple yet ecologically appealing solution to this problem of imported fuel which is causing such a drain on our resources?

Well, at Navadarshanam, we have – under the able leadership of Om Bagaria, one of our Trustees – done some experiments on a small scale, and the results of these experiments indicates that the answer to the above question is a resounding YES. Let me share with you the essence of our findings:

• Each cow that we have gives us, on an average, enough methane gas for meeting cooking needs of two human beings. As you know, we get lots of visitors – more than 2,500 have come this year. For them, and for the regular residents (nine of us), we have not had to use LPG, but have depended on gobar gas from our 20 cows, in addition to our charcoal cooker and wood stove.
• We now have two 3 cm gobar gas plants in operation. From these, not only do we get enough gobar gas for our kitchen use, but also run a regular diesel engine (Kirloskar 9 hp model) using a combination of this gobar gas and honge oil. Honge is a tree that grows naturally and easily here, and its seeds are crushed to make this oil. A very minor modification to the inlet apparatus of the engine was all that was required to make the diesel engine run without diesel. Its efficiency has remained unaffected, and its pollution level has gone down.
• Each gobar gas plant cost us Rs.13,000/- to build. Apart from the methane, it also gives slurry as a by-product which we convert into excellent manure by mixing with bio-degradable matter (like kitchen waste, leaves etc.). The cost of this manure, if we were to purchase it in the open market, would be around Rs.15,000/- per year. Thus, we have been able to recover the cost of each gobar gas plant within one year.

Those of you who have come to Navadarshanam recently have already seen the above experiment in action. We invite those who haven’t to do so.

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