10 cows' manure can power a car a day, Suzuki Biogas cars to improve Indian rural incomes, says Toshihiro Suzuki

Suzuki Motor has agreed to build four biogas refining plants in India with two local partners with facilities which will go on stream in 2025.

By Ketan Thakkar calendar 27 Oct 2023 Views icon28070 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
10 cows' manure can power a car a day, Suzuki Biogas cars to improve Indian rural incomes, says Toshihiro Suzuki

Toshihiro Suzuki, CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation says the path towards carbon neutrality will be "defined by conditions in each country and region" and hence efforts could be made to achieve carbon neutrality "by using the right materials in the right places and finding the answer." 

These remarks come from the CEO of Suzuki at the Japan Mobility Show, which has started witnessing a higher share of electric vehicle showcases in the country, and has relied on Hybrids and Hydrogen so far as a key alternative for the future.

Amongst a multitude of mobility solutions showcased at Tokyo this week, which ranged from the production version of EVX to challenge Tata Nexon, to the new generation Swift - which will help Maruti Suzuki reinforce its dominance in the hatchback market in India, there was also a showcase of Wagon R which runs on Bio CNG.

Apart from zero emission solutions like EVx, the Wagon R powered by Bio CNG will, in fact, use methane emitted by millions of cows through excretion in India and convert it into a gas to run vehicles thereby withdrawing hazardous polluting gas from the environment.

Suzuki said the company will take on the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality on multi-path systems, including not only EVs but also CNG, CBG (compressed biomethane gas), and hydrogen.

“It is said that there are about 300 million cows in India. Do you all know? One day's worth of cow dung from 10 cows is enough fuel to power one car for one day. From this basic point of view, we have developed the Wagon R that runs on purified biogas. Given the various power situations, it is not realistic to try to compensate for this with battery EVs alone. It's just the beginning. We also believe that this project can contribute by increasing the income of rural areas that handle cow dung,” added Suzuki in his speech at the Japan Mobility Show (formerly known as Tokyo Motor Show).

CBG is amongst half a dozen alternate powertrains that Suzuki Motor is working on for the Indian market. Over the last few years, the company has been responsible for growing the CNG market multi-fold and it also successfully seeded the strong hybrids in the Indian market, which Suzuki feels is a critical bridge towards zero emission.

By the end of the decade, Maruti Suzuki is likely to have a portfolio of 28 vehicles and the market leader expects CNG to account for a third of its total sales. CBG will also turn out to be a significant contributor to this journey.

Building Infrastructure to support CBG sales

Suzuki Motor has agreed to build four biogas refining plants in India with two local partners with facilities that will go on stream in 2025. The company has partnered with Banas Dairy and the government-affiliated National Dairy Development Board and it will spend a little over Rs 230 crore on the project in the state of Gujarat.

In India, there are many cows whose dung contains methane that have 28 times larger greenhouse effect than those of CO2, which are emitted into the atmosphere. The project will consider suppressing atmospheric emission of methane and refining fuel for automobiles from methane contained in cow dung.

CO2 in the atmosphere is taken into the pasture by photosynthesis, and the pasture becomes food for the cows. Methane included in dung egested from cows is emitted into the atmosphere, so by collecting dung and refining fuel for automobiles through artificially generating biogas, methane emitted into the atmosphere can be suppressed. As this fuel derives from CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, this is a carbon-neutral fuel.

The residue from the biogas can also be used as organic fertilizer, contributing to the organic fertiliser promotion policy by the Government of India.

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