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BIO Slurry - The Brown Gold

Bio slurry is unmatched in terms of its benefits towards soil health, plant health, quality and nutritional contents of food grown by using bio slurry manures. Unfortunately chemical fertiliser & pesticide lobby with deep pockets have tremendous influence on the government, ICAR,agriculture universities and Krishi Vigyan Kenders.

There is no talk of bio slurry based manuring in India which has tremendous amount of feedstock in the form of cattle dung,press mud, vegetable and food waste , spread through out the nation ,for biogas plants to produce this amazing soil conditioner and local energy by employing rural unskilled and semi skilled youth.

The basic products namely raw slurry, dried slurry, liquid and solid components of decanted slurry and their value added products by mixing bacteria,fungi,humic acid,rock phosphate,locally available ethnic knowledge based products like neem cake etc are technically unsellable because they do not appear in the FCO (Fertilizer control Order) .

Its a complete surprise that all governments talk of strengthening rural poor ,agriculture, Swatchh Bharat, rural employment, use of non conventional energy sources, environment protection , creating local jobs so that ruralites do not ove to cities etc etc. Non of them talk of this most appropriate industry that addresses all these problems most effectively . A snapshot f importance of the sector is summarised below :

1. Importance of the sector Import  Substitution of Fossil Fuels and Chemical fertilizers by much better products possible to a great extent alongwith Swatchh Bharat and Rural Employment ANNUAL CRUDE IMPORTS = ABOUT 200 Million Ton METHANE Production potential = ABOUT 65.85 millionTon (33%) NPKS ANNUAL consumption = ABOUT 25 million Ton ORGANIC NPKS Potential+micronutrients+OC = ABOUT 18 million Ton (72%) CO2 Capture = ABOUT 100 million Ton If we consider availability of green organic waste from cattle dung, poultry litter, human waste, slaughter house waste and press mud from 642 sugar mills considering each mill produces 15000 tons press mud per year then as per IIT data we have 2194 million tons of waste available per year.

This waste can produce green fuel, methane, and organic high quality bio slurry based solid manure as per FCO specifications of far superior quality than urban compost. The relevant figures are Ø 1 kg material can give 30 grams of methane and 300 grams of FCO grade organic manure Ø Organic manure production would be 658.419 million MT Ø Methane production would be 65841.9 million kg or say 65.85 million tons The above organic manure shall have 9.02 million Ton (MT) Nitrogen ,5.069 MT Phosphorous ,2.24 MT Potassium and 2.17 MT Sulphur equivalent plant nutrients and 97 million MT of Organic Carbon ( @ 15% OC ).

These nutrients in their effect, according to my estimates are equivalent of 10 times the quantities of similar nutrients from chemical fertilizers. They all exist in a state that allows slow and natural release apart from providing organic carbon and other micro-nutrients of which our soils have become heavily deficient. If we target processing of 10% of the assessed available green organic waste in first 5 years and provide same financial assistance as for urban compost / NPK fertilizers then we shall be able to achieve production of 65.84 million tons of organic manure ,6.58 million tons of pure methane and add 9.7 million tons of Organic carbon to our soils.

2. POLICY REORIENTATION REQUESTED FROM THE GOVERNMENT Background Second half of 20th century agriculture was driven by NPK focused chemical fertilizer application, man-made pesticides, insecticides, mechanization and hybrid seeds. Results: ( + ) High yields, global hunger reduction ( – ) – Soil health deterioration, low Organic carbon(OC) in soil, microbial ecology of soil disturbed, soil erosion, need for more water, more pesticides, insecticides, poor quality food laced with insecticide, pesticide residues, food with low micronutrients , increase in incidence of diseases like diabetes, cancer, blue baby syndrome, etc. Ø Huge cost of fertilizer subsidies Global Attention now is on Organic carbon and micro nutrients today for soil health and quality crops/food.

Organic carbon level in healthy soil should be between 1.8 to 3.4%, whereas at present around Delhi it is 0.1 to 0.4 only. To improve that the best option for India is to use organic manuring systems based on bio slurry from a biogas plant. Bio slurry can have four different forms and their further vaue added organic products ,insecticides, pesticides etc. Ø Raw bio slurry Ø Dried bio slurry Ø Liquid component of bio slurry when passed through solid liquid separator Ø Solid manure made from the sludge component of decanted slurry Bio gas business is non-viable as of now and shall stay so until slurry products get due attention. If they are not sold costs are incurred in managing/disposing them off. As of now there is not much awareness about the usefulness of bio slurry and the manuring systems based on it.

For this to happen Govt can help by:

(i) Regulatory intervention : Ø Bringing 4 items at S.No 2 above under FCO for organic manure under a separate chapter in the Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers in Fertilizer Control Order 1985. Standards can be fixed for solid and liquid manures made from bio slurry.These should be validated by ICAR/IARI so that different agriculture universities in states and Krishi Vigyan Kendras do not independently test each manure coming out of a biogas plant and recommend these products to farmers.

Only non-permissible components such as pathogen activity and heavy metals etc limits can be fixed which primarily do not exist in our manures. Other essential elements in any percentage doesn’t matter and can be used in any quantity for soil application. Ø Requesting National Center for Organic Farming and IARI to develop testing protocols for the 4 items and value adding procedures for them by adding microbes and items like rock phosphate.

All biogas plant substrates like cattle dung, press mud, rice straw etc have different components but all are beneficial for soil and crops. Ø Bio fertilizer making by using bio slurry to be focused by Agriculture universities/IARI/NCOF by making funding available to them for R&D. Till now bio fertilizer has been propagated in India as a subsidy driven capital intensive western processe which failed to deliver till date . Hence there is a need to make a shift to bio slurry based bio fertilizers which would be more natural and compatible with Indian situation.

The new method shall create small size units dovetailed to bio gas plants where large number of rural jobs can also be created. Ø Creating a separate chapter under GST to take care of all inputs and outputs of biogas plants where a uniform duty exemption is the policy and a regular meeting of a committee of officers of MNRE, Dept of Revenue , and Biogas business association could discuss new equipment, processes and value added products w.r.t tax exemption..

GST on all inputs and output products and value added products should be zero or a maximum of 5%. For example Dry Ice that can be made by capturing CO2 from gas cleaning system has been put at 18% which shall make this green process unviable. It may be mentioned that Govt is not going to, loose anything as it is . As of now it is not getting any tax collection from biogas business since most of the plants are loss making. Ø Allowing injection of bio-CNG in gas pipelines that pass near a biogas plant.

The same quantity of CNG grade natural gas can be taken back by the injector at any place and anytime. That quantity shall be considered Bio-CNG for tax purposes. Ø Viable price for Bio CNG as of today is about Rs 55/Kg. It can be scientifically be arrived at by a proper study. If Indian Oil or gas greed buys at rate lesser than this then govt should give financial assistance equal to the amount given for imported LPG . It is about Rs 14/kg Ø Minimum mandatory buying of biogas based electricity as per the suggested viable rates as calculated by Central electricity Agency. Ø Shifting of all Govt/municipality buying of organic manure to bio slurry based manures from plants located near to the point of application. Ø Exempting biogas plants from CLU rules and declaring them as rural agro based industry to avail concessions available to this sector

(ii). Financial support :Subsidy for Bio CNG and Bio slurry based manures on the pattern of LPG, a fossil fuel (about Rs 14/kg) and Chemical fertilizers (Rs 11 to 19/kg) & Urban compost ( Rs 1500/Ton)

(iii).Composite cylinders Normal cylinders for CNG and Bio-CNG are very heavy. A 80 kg cylinder costing about Rs 16000 carries only 12 kg Bio-CNG at 250 bar. The composite cylinders, their manufacturing be promoted. A composite cylinder costing about Rs 45,000 weighing 29 kg carries about 14 kg gas at 250 bar which are far more safe and lighter should be. This matter needs serious focus and study. Initially govt can give a subsidy of Rs 20,000 to promote these cylinders and also reduce price by bringing down import duty and GST.

(iv). Publicity The awareness campaign needs to be undertaken to popularize the solid and liquid manure made from bio slurry. Very good work ,including by organizations like FAO,SNV has been done on this subject.

(v). Interest Subsidy To keep capital cost of the plants viable interest rate of more than 4 % are deterrent .So for project costs funds at 4% interest rates may be made available on the pattern of solar energy .. 

Source: Internet

Collected and edited by: Mahobul Islam Plabon, WASTE & Bio Energy, Green Enterprise & Circular Economy Specialist

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