Bio-gas in India: Using Occam’s razor to cut into India’s Sanitation Crisis

As I embark on this ambitious it is nice to know that I am not alone. In my research this week I discovered that not only has bio-gas in India as a solution to the current crisis, a the Indian government has been involved with bio-gas since the early 70s.
Although the popularization and distribution of Bio-gas in India was initiated by NGO’s in the 60s, building over 100,000 bio-gas plants from 1975-81, in 1981 the Indian government launched the Nation Project on Biogas Development. This sparked a massive increase in the use bio-gas. In 2008 the NPBD had created over 4.5 million household bio-gas plants in rural areas. Although this is considerable progress, the sanitation crisis in India is a current problem – so we have a long way to go.

Blog 3

Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution: Social Struggle in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World by Kolya Abramsky lists the following problems with the past implementation of Bio-gas in India which has led to the failure of plants:

  • Defects and failures due to wrong designs, flawed construction techniques, low-quality building techniques and materials, construction by untrained construction workers.
  • Improper operation and maintenance
  • Lack of appropriate technical skills and training at the grass roots level

Blog 2.2

Upon researching the past designs and systems I will be looking at how I might create a bio-gas plant so simple in design and constriction that the technical and skilled-labor problems faced in past iterations of the bio-gas solution can be eliminated. Yet, simple design is only part of the solution – the cultural and social aspects of implementing a solution to a national problem in a country of 1.252 billion people is just as important as the physical aspects of the product.

Occum’s Razor holds that the simplest solution is usually the right one. Since the solution I am proposing has already been attempted on a massive scale – this project has become a question on how to successfully improve on, implement, and simplify a pre-existing idea.

Works Cited

Abramsky, Kolya. “The Role of NGOs in the Growth and Evolution of Biogas Technology Diffusion in India.” Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution. N.p.: AK, n.d. N. pag. Print

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