Biogas Supplemented Agriculture Tubewells

In view of prevailing energy crisis in Pakistan, the Chief Minister constituted a Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCE) under the chairmanship of Minister for Energy to make recommendations and prepare viable plans to mitigate the energy crisis. The Committee held series of meetings with experts, private sector and other stakeholders and deliberated on exploiting indigenous potential energy resources. The Committee also recommended for utilizing biogas energy for diesel tube-wells while focusing on small and medium farmers, in addition to other projects identified.

During one of the meetings of the Energy Council held on October 10, 2013, the Chief Minister approved the plan for installing biogas tubewells. It was also decided that the biogas plants would be installed and connected with tubewells by pre-qualified firms on turnkey basis. The Government shall provide subsidy for the installation of biogas plants @ Rs.100,000 to the farmers having land up to 5 acre, Rs.75,000 for farmers having more than 5 acres and up to 12.5 acres, and Rs. 50,000 for farmers having more than 12.5 acres and up to 25 acres. A international consultant would also be hired for the planning, supervision and execution of project activities.


  • Promote the use of biogas energy for operation of 20,000 agriculture tube-wells owned by small farmers by providing financial incentives (subsidy)
  • Minimize the energy cost of tubewells @ 70%-80% per hour and;
  • Enhance agricultural productivity through timely availability of irrigation water and use of biogas manure rich in nutrients.

The proposed project will help reduce the energy cost of agriculture tubewells and improve profitability of small and medium farms, hence poverty alleviation of farmers. The project would also create good impact on crop productivity by conversion of animal dung into high value organic fertilizer (“biogas slurry”).

Introduction to Biogas Energy

Biogas is produced by the breakdown of organic waste by bacteria without oxygen (anaerobic digestion. Generally animal dung, crops residue, poultry droppings are used for biogas generation. Biogas contains Methane (CH4) 60-70%, Carbon dioxide (CO2) 30%, Nitrogen (N2) 1%, Carbon Mono Oxide (CO)and Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) in traces. It is non-poisonous, have no offensive smell, can easily burn with air when mixed @ 6.25%, checks de-afforestation, is cheap and environmental friendly.

The biogas manure/ slurry is produced through fermentation process which is enriched in Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potash (K) compared with fresh manure / fertilizers. It is used as organic manure to improve soil health and enhance crop production leading to reduced consumption of mineral fertilizers. Experiments have shown incremental crop yield (10-20%) with biogas manure.

Use of Biogas

Biogas can be used for cooking, lighting, generation of power (electricity) and for running diesel engines / tubewells on dual fuel system i.e. mixing it with diesel @70-80%. The requirement of biogas for different purposes is as given below:

Biogas Plant Models

Different designs of biogas plants are used in various parts of the world depending upon the local climatic conditions and purpose of biogas utilization. Most common designs are constant pressure based floating gas holder plant and constant volume based dome type plants.

Floating Drum Type Biogas Plant Fixed Dome Type Biogas Plant

Mode of Implementation

The proposed project would be implemented by a Dedicated Project Management Unit (PMU) which shall be established. The Director General Agriculture (Field) will act as Project Director. The Punjab province would be divided into four zones indicating names of districts in each zone. The Directors of Agriculture Engineering at Multan, Faisalabad and Lahore, and Director Soil Conservation Rawalpindi would be designated as Deputy Project Directors incharge of concerned zones. The Field Engineers at districts and divisional level shall also monitor the construction and operation of biogas plants / tubewells. They will submit their reports to PMU / Director General Agriculture (Field) Punjab on fort-nightly basis.

Hiring of Consultant Firm

An international consultant firm, or its joint venture with national consultant, would be hired in accordance with PPRA (2014) rules. The Consultant shall finalize the tender documents and including specifications of the biogas plants for floating type and fixed dome type. It shall also evaluate the technical and financial proposals of contractor firms to install the plants on turnkey basis.

Pre-Qualification of Contractor Firms

The Pre-qualification Committee (PQC) shall be constituted with Additional Secretary (Planning) of Agriculture Department, to act as its convener. The PMU shall issue advertisement in the national press as well as at PPRA website inviting technical and financial proposals from the contractor firms for the construction of the proposed biogas plants on turnkey basis. Choice would be given to the contractors / firms to submit its proposals to operate in one zone, or in all areas of Punjab.

The consultant shall evaluate technical proposals of contracted firms in 1st stage and make recommendations for technical prequalification of potential eligible firms to the PQC. The eligible short listed firms shall be asked to submit financial proposals which shall also be evaluated by the consultant.

Distribution of Biogas Plants

The distribution of plants to 36 districts of Punjab has been made based upon the population of diesel tubewells in the concerned districts. However, South Punjab districts have been given 10% additional allocation of biogas plants compared with other districts. A total of 20,000 biogas plants shall be constructed and connected with diesel tube wells initially. With the success of these tube wells it shall be replicated to achieve the target of 100,000 biogas tube wells as desired by Chief Minister Punjab.

Allotment of Biogas Plants

Applications for allotment of biogas plants shall be invited through national press. Application forms shall be made available free of charge in the offices of Assistant Agricultural Engineers at District level, Deputy District Officer Agriculture (Extension) at Tehsil level and Agriculture Officers (Extension) at Sub Tehsil levels as well as at Agriculture Department website ( Last date for submission of applications will be announced in the advertisement.

Eligibility / Selection Criteria

  • The farmers should have own agriculture land up to 25 acres, however, priority will be given to farmers having land up to 12.5 acres
  • The farmers may apply individually or on collaborative basis for which they will nominate one owner of biogas plant who shall be responsible for operation and maintenance of plant after installation
  • The land lessee / tenants can also apply but he will produce the following documents with the application;
  • Copy of agreement with the land owner for at-least three years
  • “Gurdawari” record for the last two years
  • Copy of “Fardh” in the name of owner of land
  • Three models of biogas plants (25m3, 40m3, 50m3) and designs - floating gas holder & fixed dome, shall be offered to farmers, however, he may apply for any size and design of plant
  • Depth of water table at the site of biogas plant should be more than 15 feet
  • The location of farm and tubewell should be away from the river bed

He/They shall

  • have diesel tube-well (12 HP to 25 HP) at his farm in good condition (or) in case of tractor driven tube well, will install diesel engine within 15 days after allotment of biogas plant
  • have sufficient animals i.e. minimum 20 for 25 m3, 30 for 40 m3, and 40 for 50 m3
  • give an undertaking that they have not earlier availed such facility from any federal / provincial institution
  • pay his share over and above the amount of subsidy to the contactor firm through PMU
  • agree to get training for installation, operation, maintenance and trouble-shooting, which shall be arranged by shortlisted contractor firms
  • maintain data / record of all parameters related to operation and maintenance of biogas tubewells and give feed back to the Department as per requirement
  • ensure protection of biogas plants from animals and children interference
  • abide by the decision of the allotment committee and will not challenge it in any court of law
  • operate the plant / tube well for a period of minimum 5 years, failing which the subsidy amount granted by the Government shall be recovered as Land Revenue Arrears

Scrutiny of Applications

The District Scrutiny Committee, DSC will scrutinize applications and prepare a list of eligible applicants and display the same outside the Assistant Agricultural Engineer (AAE) office.

Reasons of rejection of applications shall also be recorded in the list. The rejected applicants may appeal to the Grievance Redress Committees which will be notified by the Agriculture Department, within 7 days w.e.f. the date of displaying the list. Decisions on appeals will be made by the District Coordinator Officer (DCO) well before the date of allotment. Final list of eligible candidates will be displayed in the AAE office.

Issuance of Allotment Orders

The District Allotment Committee shall conduct balloting in the presence of applicants and public representatives under the supervision of commissioners and draw a list of successful beneficiaries as per biogas plants distribution for the concerned district. A waiting list of applicants equal to at least 10% of the biogas plants allottees in concerned district shall also be drawn. Allotment letters would be issued after verification of the eligibility criteria of applicants.

Booking of Biogas Plant

The farmers / allottees of biogas plants may contact one of the pre-qualified contractors / firms and select any desired design and size of biogas plant within 30 days. He will have the choice to select one of the three sizes or any other size of the plant but it shall be equal to or more than 25 cubic meter. The subsidy level will remain the same in all the cases. If the beneficiary / allottee fails to book the biogas plant within 30 days after receipt of allotment letter, allotment of biogas plant shall stand cancelled and the biogas plant will be allotted to the next person on the waiting list (drawn by the allotment committee). The next beneficiary shall book the biogas plant within 15 days of the receipt of allotment order. This process will be repeated till interested farmers book all the available plants.

Construction of Biogas Plants

The pre-qualified firms shall construct the plant as per specifications of biogas plants given in the PQ / bidding document. The consultant shall supervise the installation and operation of biogas plants in all the districts. It will check the quality and quantity of materials used in construction of biogas plants and would be responsible for any fault or poor quality materials used.

Capacity Building of Manpower

Three types of trainings shall be imparted as given below:

  • Capacity building of farmers / beneficiaries on operation & maintenance of biogas plants (would be conducted by the prequalified firms).
  • Capacity of master trainers / field engineers on construction, operation & maintenance and troubleshooting of biogas plants (would be conducted by the experts from research, academia and Agriculture Department etc.).
  • Short-term training courses for biogas supervisors and masons on construction, operation & maintenance and troubleshooting of biogas plants. This shall be conducted with the help of Punjab Skill Development Fund (PSDF) for which training modules have been prepared. The cost of trainings shall be borne by the PSDF. A total of 5000 masons and 2000 supervisors from all districts of Punjab shall get the training. The selection of masons and supervisors shall be made by PSDF as per its SOPs.

In addition to training of manpower, workshops for creating awareness on the benefits of biogas technology shall also be conducted in each zone of Punjab. Lectures on introduction to biogas technologies / plants and its benefits / applications shall be given by experts of biogas technology.

Project Steering Committee

A Project Steering Committee (PSC) shall also be constituted to supervise and guide the execution of the project works and make appropriate policy decisions. The PSC can make changes in the design of the project as required during implementation of the project e.g. changes in allocation of biogas plants to districts, eligibility criteria for applicants, technical specifications etc.

  • Project cost: Rs. 8405.347 million (government share Rs. 1876.347 million including subsidy and farmer share of Rs. 6529.00 million)
  • Gestation period: 2 years (February 01, 2014 to January 31, 2016)