Govt to Set up National Mission for Biomass Usage in Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plants

With an aim to address the issue of air pollution from farm stubble burning and to trim carbon footprints of thermal power generation, the Ministry of Power has decided to set up a ‘National Mission on use of Biomass in coal-based thermal power plants’.

May 25, 2021. By Manu Tayal

With an aim to address the issue of air pollution from farm stubble burning and to trim carbon footprints of thermal power generation, the Ministry of Power has decided to set up a ‘National Mission on use of Biomass in coal-based thermal power plants’. 

The Power Ministry further clarified that this would, further, support the energy transition in the country and our targets to move towards cleaner energy sources.

Moreover, the duration of proposed National Mission on biomass would be for a minimum 5 years, and will also contribute in the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), it added.

Thus, the government’s objective of setting up a National Mission on biomass includes:

  • To increase the level of co-firing from present 5 per cent to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon neutral power generation from thermal power plants.
  • To take up R&D activity in boiler design to handle higher amount of silica, alkalis in biomass pellets.
  • To facilitate overcoming the constraints in supply chain of bio mass pellets and agro- residue and its transport up to the power plants.
  • To consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.

However, the modalities of operation and structure of the Nation Mission are under finalization, and is being envisaged that the Mission would have a Steering Committee headed by Secretary (Power) comprising of all stakeholders including representatives from Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG), Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) etc.

Although, the Executive Committee would be headed by Member (Thermal), CEA, while NTPC will provide logistic and infrastructure support in the proposed National Mission.

Additionally, the Mission would have full time officers from CEA, NTPC, DVC and NLC or other participating organizations.

Under the National Mission on biomass, the following Sub-Groups are also proposed to be formed:

  • Sub-Group 1: to be responsible to carry out research on properties/ characteristics of biomass.
  • Sub-Group 2: to carry out technical specification and safety aspects including research in boiler design etc. to handle the pilot project for higher amount of co-firing of biomass with coal in pulverized coal (PC) fired boilers.
  • Sub-Group 3: for resolving the issues of supply chain during the mission period and sensitization programme.
  • Sub-Group 4: to select designated labs and certification bodies for testing of Agro-based biomass pellets and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) pellets.
  • Sub-Group 5: be formed on regulatory framework and economics of biomass co-firing in coal based Thermal power plants.
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