Establishing Biogas-Powered Cold Storage in Rural India for Methane Mitigation and Sustainable Food Systems


Sector:Agriculture, Biogas
Size:1 MB

Mitigating post-harvest food loss can result in economic benefits for farmers, increase food security, and reduce methane emissions from organic waste. Each year, an estimated 30 percent of fruits and vegetables produced in India are lost or wasted despite the country ranking 94th out of 100 on the 2020 Global Hunger Index (HLPE, 2014; Agarwal et al., 2021). Almost half of post-harvest food losses in India are attributed to the lack of a reliable cold chain, the integrated network of refrigerated storage facilities, transportation, and merchandising technologies that maintain food quality moving from harvest to the consumer (Peters et al., 2019). Cold-chain technologies are energy intensive and typically powered by fossil fuels. In recent years, there has been a focus on clean energy powered cold-chain solutions, including renewable energy powered cold storage facilities that store commodities after harvest.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a financial pre-feasibility assessment for direct biogas-powered cold storage facilities in Maharashtra, India. EPA used the Global Methane Initiative’s (GMI) Organics Economics (OrganEcs) and Anaerobic Digestion Screening Tool to assess an anaerobic digestion system processing livestock manure into biogas, which is then used by an absorption cooling technology to generate off-grid cold storage without electricity. Data collected from farmers in Maharashtra included the potential crops available for cold storage and commodity prices. Project developers and technical experts provided data on the facility capital and operating costs, as well as sale prices for biogas, digestate, and cold storage fees.

Related Resources