IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Turning Human Waste into Renewable Energy: Scope and Options for India


  • Mukherjee, Sacchidananda
  • Chakraborty, Debashis


With rise in population and the ongoing urbanisation drive, the urge to ensure energy security both for the rural and urban areas has emerged as a major challenge in India. The demand for energy has increased in all spheres of life, e.g. for cooking, cultivation, production purposes, transportation, and so on. Although through various government initiatives, adoption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking has increased, given the vast population, use of biofuels is expected to continue for poorer households. Generation of biogas from cattle waste in India has intensified through policies, but the same from human waste is still in a nascent stage. The present study explores the possibilities of recovering energy and nutrients from human waste by discussing the present system of human waste collection, treatment and disposal in India, followed by the reasons behind the failures of the past initiatives (e.g., Ganga Action Plan, GAP). It further focuses on a few alternative systems and their technical feasibility. It is concluded that various ongoing policies, viz., National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (SBM) - should be coordinated for integrating collection and treatment of human waste for generation of renewable energy.

Suggested Citation

  • Mukherjee, Sacchidananda & Chakraborty, Debashis, 2016. "Turning Human Waste into Renewable Energy: Scope and Options for India," MPRA Paper 73669, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:73669

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jouko Arvola & Pekka Belt & Janne Harkonen & Pekka Kess & Ritva Imppola, 2012. "Biogas as an option for industrial applications," International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(1), pages 71-88.
    2. Mukherjee, S., 2007. "Groundwater pollution and emerging environmental challenges of industrial effluent irrigation in Mettupalayam Taluk, Tamil Nadu," IWMI Working Papers H042365, International Water Management Institute.
    3. P. Srinivasan & Inder Siddanth Ravindra, 2015. "Causality among Energy Consumption, CO2 Emission, Economic Growth and Trade," Foreign Trade Review, , vol. 50(3), pages 168-189, August.
    4. Hussain, I. & Raschid, L. & Hanjra, M. A. & Marikar, F. & van der Hoek, W., 2002. "Wastewater use in agriculture: Review of impacts and methodological issues in valuing impacts," IWMI Working Papers H030078, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Priyam Das & Kenneth R. Tamminga, 2012. "The Ganges and the GAP: An Assessment of Efforts to Clean a Sacred River," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(8), pages 1-22, July.
    6. Ensink, J. H. J. & van der Hoek, W. & Matsuno, Y. & Munir, S. & Aslam, M. R., 2002. "Use of untreated wastewater in peri-urban agriculture in Pakistan: risks and opportunities," IWMI Research Reports H030848, International Water Management Institute.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mukherjee, Sacchidananda, 2019. "Exploring Low-Carbon Energy Security Path for India: Role of Asia-Pacific Energy Cooperation," Working Papers 19/259, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

    More about this item


    human waste management; urban wastewater management; renewable energy; resource recovery; biogas generation; public health management; government policy; technology adoption; energy policy; India.;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources
    • Q37 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Issues in International Trade
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:73669. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.