Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 10, the World Biofuel Day, delivered a speech where he said he had seen a tea seller in Gujarat make tea by inverting a vessel on a drain, piercing a hole in the vessel and using the gas emanating from the garbage.

The Prime Minister said further in the course of the same speech that he had, in his State once run into a man who was riding a scooter carrying a tube of a tractor tyre with air filled in it. Modi asked his convoy to stop and inquired with the man why he had not deflated the tube to make it more portable. The man reportedly said to the then Chief Minister of Gujarat that he used the tube to collect bio gas from the dung of his cattle and uses it to run the irrigation pump in his field.

These are cock-and-bull stories, right? Wrong! It is very much possible to make cooking gas out of biogas. And it is equally possible to run water pumps for irrigation in fields.

Akvopedia says, “Certain poorer countries depend on biomass fuels at present for over 90% of their energy needs (i.e. mainly for cooking fuel). It has been estimated that 53% of energy use in Africa, 17% in Asia and 8% in Latin America is currently met from biomass resources. Therefore, biomass is already a huge and vital economic resource, although it is usually informally exploited mainly for cooking purposes and still remains rarely used for the production of shaft power via heat engines, and even less so for irrigation pumping.”

The encyclopaedia run by the NGO Akvo says further, “To get biogas, farmers are creating their own, by using cow dung and building a bio-digester. The end products are also a good source of fertilizer for crops. Making their own biogas saves hundreds of dollars per year in fuel costs for fuel that is used to run small water pumps.”

Video showing manufacture of cooking gas from biogas

Video showing biogas running irrigation pumps

All that the Prime Minister compromised with was details. He could have explained the process of converting what scientists call marshy gas or methane to fuel. But then, it would have turned into a monotonous lecture by a professor. A politician cannot afford to bore his audience.

But perhaps Congress president Rahul Gandhi can.

Seems Gandhi took Modi’s speech literally.