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Biogas in India

Biogas in India
Robert Jon Lichtman
pdf - ebook, download. 142 pages.
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This guide is 142 pages and well illustrated with diagrams and tables.

From the preface

An important common theme underlies much of the current literature on the application of technology within both developed and developing nations. Any technology has a complex series of impacts on the environment in which that technology operates. The concern over a technology's "appropriateness" is based on the need to determine clearly who will be affected by use of the technology and in what ways* Behind the concept of "appropriate technology" is the belief that the complex interactions between a technology and its environment should be made "visible." Only then can a technology be evaluated properly. By describing explicitly the impact of a technology, the selection criteria for the technology also become explicit. If we choose a technology that pollutes a river, but which also provides permanent jobs for 10,000 workers, we presumably either value employment benefits over environmental costs or else were ignorant of the pollution effects at the time we made the decision.

The choice of a technology is "appropriate" or "inappropriate" only in the context of the demands we place upon it. The subtle trade-offs between these often conflicting demands are at the real core of any debate over the choice of a technology. Appropriate technology is less a problem of hardware than of appropriate data collection, decision-making, financing, installation, and use-- with all the problems of sorting out competing demands and value judgements in each of these tasks. This study is an assessment of the "appropriateness" of biogas technology in meeting some of the needs of India's rural population. Such an assessment is quite complicated, despite claims that a biogas system is a simple village-level technology. While there is evidence that biogas systems have great promise, they are subject to certain constraints. It is impossible to describe here all the factors that one might study to assess any technology. I only hope that the approach used in this study will help others.

One difficulty in studying biogas technology is the fragmented and often anecdotal nature of the research and development work. In order to provide this snapshot of the state-of-the-art in India, I have had to enlist the aid of a bewildering number of government officials, industrialists, university researchers, missionaries, social workers, journalists, voluntary groups I farmers, merchants, and villagers.

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