Shimla | The Himachal Pradesh government is contemplating to produce Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) from pine needles, which is available in abundance in the state, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on Tuesday.
The CBG has properties similar to CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and can be used as green renewable automotive fuel. It has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial sectors, the chief minister added.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Oil India Limited (OIL) recently in this regard and endeavours to start a pilot project for the bioconversion of pine needles into biofuel, a statement issued here said.
The OIL would test the feasibility of producing CBG from the pine needles in HP Green Research and Development Centre, Bengaluru as the samples of pine needles will be sent by the Department of Energy shortly. If the results are encouraging, this will not only pave the way for producing sustainable energy sources replacing traditional fossil fuels but will also boost the economy of lower belts of the state, it added.
The state government and the OIL will collaborate to harness and develop new and renewable energy resources, including CBG.
Around 1,200 to 2,500 forest fires are reported in Himachal Pradesh every year affecting the flora and fauna in thousands of hectares of land. Pine needles cause major threats to environment, forest biodiversity and local economy in the entire Himalayan region due to their non-biodegradable and highly-inflammable nature which are the main cause of forest fire hazards, the statement said.
The chief minister said the OIL has assured all-out support to develop renewable energy, promote research and development and create a sustainable and resilient energy system.
"The MoU is a significant step towards achieving the goal of making Himachal Pradesh the first green energy state of the country by March 2026," he added.
Pine forests are in abundance in the lower elevations of the state, including Kangra, Una and Hamirpur districts, and recent research has revealed that pine needles can be converted into CBG, a sustainable energy resource that has the potential to replace fossil fuels.
Pine gasification may become a source of employment for rural people, it added.