(Data from Wikipedia)
- Number of Villages in India = 640,867
- Number of Villages in India with population < 500 = 236,004
- Number of Villages in India with population > 10,000 = 3,976
So, Number of Villages in India with population between 500 and 10,000 = 400,887 (Let us call this “Category A”)
- Considering, average population of Villages of Category A = 6,000
- Considering, average family size of Villages of Category A = 10
Thus, Number of Families in Villages of Category A = 600
- (Data from World Bank)
Per Capita Energy Requirement in India = 684 kWh = 615,600 BTU
- (Data from WeberEnergy Group)
Manure produced by 100 Cattle in a year can produce Energy = 1 Billion BTU per year
So, Number of Homes in Village of Category A that can be Powered with 1 Billion BTU for the entire year = ~1,625/10 = ~160
Thus, if a Village in Category A has 400 cattle, they can produce enough Power for the Entire Year for the Village. And possibly, sell the excess back to the Government.
This paper has some interesting aspect about cost calculation.
This makes a good business case for India to either develop these units. Even more prudent would be importing these machines selectively immediately; and then setting up plant for maintenance of the imported machines. In parallel, we could work on the development of the machine indigenously. This could solve the energy needs for domestic purpose in Indian Villages and thus improve the quality of lives in the villages.
In parallel, the Government could work on expansion of the National Grid. The power from the National Grid could be used for heavy energy needs like agriculture, cold storage, etc. This way, the villages would stay connected, and yet be self-sufficient. The load on the Government would also be less as a result.
From the below papers, I understand that there would be need for appropriate policies for such implementation. However, bare essential technology exists.
- The Agricultural Ethics of Biofuels: The Food vs. Fuel Debate , Paul B. Thompson
- Biofuels, International Food Prices, and the Poor , International Food Policy Research Institute
- Despite Evidence, Food Vs. Fuel Fight Continues , Forbes
- Ending The Food V. Fuel Debate: Researchers Define Surplus Land , GE Ecomagination
Now, coming to subject of “Food versus Fuel”, I believe that such implementation produces the solution by itself. If there is enough power for agriculture, the chance of better yield and for better storage and thus better use, improves. Also, with energy available for domestic needs, the chance for better spread of education improves. This improvement in levels of education would lead to better agricultural practices and for more awareness for selling commodities at better rates in the market. This would provide for better economical security of the villagers.