EverEnviro plans to start five CBG plants in India by March 2024: interview
Gurugram-based compressed biogas (CBG) company EverEnviro Resource Management is making significant strides in India's renewable energy landscape, undertaking 20 CBG projects across the country, with five projects slated for commissioning by March 2024.
"EverEnviro is currently overseeing the implementation of approximately 20 CBG projects in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Punjab," Mahesh Girdhar, managing director and CEO of EverEnviro, told Gas Pathways. "In the initial phase, specifically by March 31, 2024, we plan to commission five CBG projects. This includes the activation of two paddy straw-based projects in Punjab, two pressed mud-based projects in Uttar Pradesh, and an already operational municipal solid waste CBG project in Indore since May 2022."
The remaining projects are scheduled for completion in subsequent phases, with the entire portfolio expected to be fully operational by March 2025. These projects represent a capital investment of nearly 20bn rupees ($240mn).
The Indore plant, which came online last year, has a capacity of 550 tonnes/day. Among the key off-takers, the Indore Municipal Corporation, under the terms of agreement, commits to procuring a minimum of 50% of the CBG produced at the plant. Additionally, the distribution is facilitated through pipeline connectivity to Avantika Gas, a city gas distribution entity. Furthermore, industrial users such as Tata International, L&T, and HD Wires also rely on the plant for their CBG requirements.
Biogas, a versatile fuel, comprises approximately 55-65% methane, 35-44% carbon dioxide, and traces of other gases. In its raw form, biogas can replace liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for clean cooking, lighting, motive power, and electricity generation. It can also substitute diesel in diesel engines by up to 80%, and with 100% biogas engines, complete replacement is possible. Furthermore, biogas can be purified and upgraded to 98% methane purity, making it suitable for transportation or filling cylinders at high pressure of 250 bar.
Mahesh Girdhar, managing director and CEO of EverEnviro
Forging strategic partnerships for accelerated growth
In September, EverEnviro announced a joint venture with state-owned energy company Indian Oil Corp to establish CBG plants across India. Each entity holds a 50% stake in the partnership. The final structure of the venture is subject to approval from NITI Aayog, the apex public policy think tank of the government of India, and other relevant departments under the Indian Ministry of Finance.
"The final structure and specific details of this venture are currently pending approval from NITI Aayog and the department of investment and public asset management. Consequently, the timeline, geographical locations, and capacity details of the proposed plants will be disclosed in a later phase, following the necessary approvals," Girdhar said.
Promising demand outlook
When it comes to the future demand outlook for CBG in India, Girdhar sounds very optimistic. He said that the aim is to supply biogas to oil and gas marketing companies (OGMCs) as part of the SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) initiative by the government of India.
“These OGMCs will be major consumers, purchasing CBG from our plants. Additionally, the demand for CBG extends to various industries, including but not limited to heating, cooling, glass, fabric, steel, paint production, IR heating units, vehicular research, and development, among others,” he said. “Our commitment to sustainability also involves providing on-site dispensing stations at our plants for retail sale to vehicles, further contributing to environmentally conscious transportation solutions.”
Building a robust supply chain for sustainable production
EverEnviro is committed to developing a robust and sustainable supply chain for all three feedstocks used in CBG production: organic fraction of solid waste (OFSW), agricultural waste, and agricultural industrial waste.
The company has established sustainable supply chain models for paddy straw projects, fostering partnerships with village-level entrepreneurs. It also conducts workshops to educate farmers about the detrimental effects of crop burning, promoting responsible waste management practices.
For pressed mud-based projects, EverEnviro has secured long-term partnerships with sugar mills, ensuring a reliable and competitive supply of pressed mud, a byproduct of the sugar mill clarification process.
In the case of municipal solid waste projects, EverEnviro has signed concession agreements with urban local bodies. These bodies are obligated to provide a guaranteed, free-of-cost supply of source-segregated OFSW to EverEnviro's CBG plants throughout the project duration. This ensures a consistent and sustainable source of feedstock for these initiatives.
“While India presents significant opportunities for developing a feedstock supply chain, addressing logistical, educational, and regulatory challenges is crucial. Companies like EverEnviro navigate these challenges by implementing innovative models, partnerships, and community engagement strategies to ensure the sustainability of their feedstock supply chains,” Girdhar said.