ADATS Biogas CDM

ADATS Biogas CDM

Immediately after the Kyoto Protocol was ratified and market mechanisms set up in the Marrakesh Accord, climate change activist friends of ADATS registered the world's first CDM Project on 10 December 2005 with the UNFCCC to build 5,500 domestic biogas units that would replace non-renewable biomass and generate 19,553 CERs every year for the next 21 years. Please see http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/DB/DNV-CUK1131002343.1/view?cp=1

Three and a half years after registration as a CDM Project with the UNFCCC, the Bagepalli Biogas CDM project got registered as Gold Standard Project on 22 July 2009. Please see https://mer.markit.com/br-reg/public/project.jsp?project_id=103000000002506

It was certified that emission reductions generated from this CDM Project are not only real and verifiable, but also make measurable contribution to sustainable development of the poor and benefit their communities.

  • Replacing traditional cook stoves with biogas has eliminated indoor air pollution and has improved the health of women and children.
  • Converting dung to slurry, a large number of bacteria are destroyed, thus decreasing pathogen loads.
  • Biogas slurry manure is far superior to farmyard manure in respect of NPK contents. It reduced the use of chemical fertilizers and increases crop production.
  • The project activity reduces pressure on natural forests and common property resources, thus arresting degradation of forests and deforestation and leading habitat conservation.
  • The Project has created job opportunities to local communities.

The use of biogas as a cooking fuel brings an improvement in the overall quality of life in many ways for End User families as a whole, and women in particular. The project has reduced drudgery of women and children. Women have easy access to energy at the turn of a knob, while earlier they faced severe hardship to collect fuel wood on a weekly basis and get kerosene through the public distribution system once a month.

Benefits are in terms of time saved in fuel procurement and cooking, improved kitchens and convenience, and reduction of drudgery of transporting fuel wood to the homesteads. Time saved is used to take up an additional economic activity and earn a little, or to look after their children. Thus, the project has resulted in social, environmental and economic development for local communities.

Velcan Energy, France, bought the entire 136,871 GS CERs that would be generated in the first 7 years, in advance, for an upfront payment of € 1.1 million. With this capex, ADATS built 5,488 domestic biogas units for as many poor women in 339 villages of Chickballapur district in 2006 and 2007.

In keeping with ADATS policy to not make pecuniary gain from carbon revenues, not a single Rupee was spent on overheads. 16 teams of ADATS Field Staff voluntarily implemented this CDM Project. 128 local Masons were trained to build these units. Labour was contributed free of cost by End User families. Neighbours assisted single women and the elderly. The total expenditure on the project was ₹ 6.26 crore and average cost worked out to a mere ₹ 11,398 per unit.

End User women stopped using non-renewable fuels. They got easy access to energy at the turn of a knob, while earlier they faced severe hardship to collect fuel wood on a weekly basis and get kerosene through the public distribution system once a month. They started cooking in a cleaner environment, spending less time in the kitchen, and do not suffer indoor air pollution. The project reduced drudgery for women. Time saved is used to take up an additional economic activity and earn a little, or to look after their children.

The flip side, however, is that biogas is not a technology that reaches out to the poorest of the poor. Since biogas units need both, cattle as well as space close to their houses, only 34% of End Users are SC/ST women, 20% are from Middle Castes and 47% from Upper Caste families. 85% of them have good houses, 5% have modest houses, and the remaining 10% live in bad houses.

From the very inception, ADATS emphasised that End User women were not recipients of anyone's charity. We encouraged them to see themselves as "business women".

Reducing Greenhouse Gases was a vital environmental service to society at large, for which they were getting paid — first with capex to build their Biogas units through the ERPA, and later through the sale of Emission Reductions.

ADATS Biogas CDM

Repair, maintenance and monitoring systems worked perfectly till drought struck. For four continuous years the monsoons failed and people began to face serious problems. End User women braved it for three years with no fodder, distress sale of cattle, and finally no water even for daily necessities. Finally, the drought broke their backs and from July 2016, functionality began to drop below 80%.

  • As on 10 August 2020, 3,128 units are still working. Another 902 are under repair, and 1,458 face problems that cannot be solved.
  • Total usage stands at 2.3 crore days and, as per our digitized monitoring system, and a total of 2,14,323 tCO2-e has been generated.
  • Of these, 1,51,179 GS CERs have been verified by accredited Carbon Auditors and issued into the UNFCCC and Gold Standard Registries.
  • After receiving 1,01,848 CERs (75% of our ERPA commitment), Velcan Energy generously decided to forgo the remaining 35,023 tCO2-e. All further Carbon Credits would belong to End User women. To this, they gifted another 10,456 unsold CERs they still had with them!

ADATS negotiated with potential buyers and got the best possible price in the voluntary market. Every single Rupee we got as carbon revenue was given to End User women as a reward for the environmental service they provided. ADATS did not hold back a single Rupee of Carbon Revenue and the entire proceeds from these and future sale of GS CERs went, and will continue to go, to End User women in proportion to their usage days.

  • In November 2018 we sold 15,000 tonnes to the German Churches for ₹ 94.05 lakh
  • In April 2019 we once again sold 21,109 tonnes to the German Churches for ₹ 1,21 crore
  • In May 2019 we again sold another 15,000 tonnes to the German Churches for ₹ 88.16 lakh
  • In July 2019 we sold 1,056 tonnes to BP, the Netherlands, through FairClimateFund for ₹ 6.07 lakh
  • In March 2020 we sold another 23,201 tonnes to BP, the Netherlands, through FairClimateFund for ₹ 1.44 crore
  • In May 2020 we sold all the remaining 9,337 tonnes to the German Churches for ₹ 58 lakh

To date, a total of ₹ 5,11,44,361 of Carbon Revenue has been distributed as under:

  • 96.2% to 2,739 End User women who were using their Biogas units, in proportion to their respective usage days.
  • 3.8% to meet DOE, UNFCCC and Gold Standard issuance fees.
Vintage YearIssued GS CERsSoldBalance
201811,38511,385-
201711,81611,816-
201613,06013,060-
201516,04916,049-
201416,28016,280-
20135,6575,657-
20123,2343,234-
20117,2227,222-
Total84,70384,703-

We will have more Credits after the next verification scheduled for the end of 2020.

For us, it is a matter of pride that rural women are actually compensated for doing domestic work in a climate friendly manner, through their own community owned and managed activity.