Crop residues provide additional source of income
The Indian state of Rajasthan is one of the poorest areas of India. The majority of the population works in agriculture and animal husbandry. However, small farmers can hardly produce anything beyond what is required for mere subsistence. Mustard is the most important agricultural crop within the dry climate. Up until now, the leftover stems and shells served no purpose after being processed into mustard oil and were therefore simply burned.
Producing Energy from the own residues
Prior to this small scale project activity, the plant's wastewater was treated in cascading open anaerobic lagoons, with a retention time of more than one year. This resulted in heavy emissions of methane, one of the strongest greenhouse gases, from the organic content of the wastewater. Now, the project activity replaces the old treatment with a modern Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor system. The captured biogas is used for energy production instead of being released to the atmosphere, and replaces fossil fuels in the starch drying process which saves even more greenhouse gases from heating up the climate. In the end, the recycled water can be re-used in the plant for cleaning the cassava, which saves many tons of freshwater per day.
Apart from the positive climate effects, the project also benefits the local community, since the strong odour nuisance has dropped.