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New MoU Will See Biomass Boom for India

India is set to see some new biomass power projects up and running thanks to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Haryana state government.The MoU has been signed with four independent power producers to set up five biomass projects each producing up to 51MW of power via an investment of Rs230 crore (€33.3 million).

Haryana has been heralded as a leading state in furthering energy conservation projects and it has seen several hydro power facilities come online in recent times. Many of the other biomass plants in the region currently use sugarcane bagasse as feedstock, but it is unclear what will be utilised within any of the new projects.

These projects will be part of the Project on Removal of Barriers to Biomass Power Generation in India, which formally started  when M/s Thermax Limited and M/s Ruchi Soya Industries Limited  signed the MoU in the presence of Shri Gireesh B. Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)  on 5th July 2012 in New Delhi .

The aim of the  UNDP / GEF assisted Project , which is being implemented by MNRE, is to accelerate the adoption of environmentally sustainable biomass power technologies by removing the barriers identified, thereby laying the foundation for the large scale commercialization of biomass power through increased access to financing.

As part of this Project, a one MW fluidized bed biomass gasification plant is planned to be set up at M/s Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. (RSIL) premises at Washim, Maharashtra as a Model Investment Project (MIP).  The plant will be executed by M/s Thermax Ltd., Pune based on the technology acquired by them from the Energy Research Centre (ECN) and M/s Dahlman of the Netherlands.

The proposed gasification system is supposed to have a higher conversion efficiency (>95 %) as compared to 80-85 % of the existing gasification systems and also an advanced gas cleanup system and will  overcome the existing barriers such as -non availability of proven single module of gasifier and gas clean up unit of capacity 1MW or above, standardization of MW capacity systems, generation of operating data required as input for determination of separate tariff and demonstration of tri –generation, besides demonstration of biomass gasification technology for generation of grid quality power.

The  Ministry of New and Renewable Energy , has a wide range of programmes for harnessing energy as well as grid interactive and off grid power from biomass which is renewable in nature, carbon neutral and has the potential to provide large productive employment in rural areas using commercially available thermal and biological conversion technologies. A cumulative generation capacity of over 3700 MW through biomass power including bagasse cogeneration has been so far established in the country. The present project is designed to address the barriers which impede its deployment.

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