Biomass Energy Conversion

Biomass Conversion: Untapped Reservoir of Clean Energy?

08/09/2012 | Autor / Editor: GARGI MALIK / Dominik Stephan

A typical biogas plant in India
Gallery: 5 Pictures
A typical biogas plant in India (Picture: Press Information Bureau, India)

India is a power-starved country, whereas the country’s biomass resources (otherwise waste) hold a great potential to address the challenge. About 15 GW of electricity generating capacity could be achieved through adding cogeneration capabilities in various industries including sugar mills, breweries, textile mills, distilleries, fertilizer plants, pulp and paper mills and rice mills.

Agriculture continues to be the main source of livelihood for a large part of population in India. Biomass, thus, is readily available widely across the country, thereby, overcoming regional limitations. Biomass, which implies biological material from living or recently living organisms, can be used as an important source of energy. It is a renewable and carbon natural source of energy. Biomass resources in India are estimated to be about 565 million tonnes per year. It includes agriculture residues and forest residues.

Agriculture residues result from crop harvesting and processing. They include rice husk, bagasse, sugar cane tops and leaves, groundnut shells, cotton stalks and mustard stalks. Forest residues result from logging and wood processing. They include small trees, branches, tops and un-merchantable wood left in the forest.

Biomass Reservoir of 189 Tonnes per Year

The surplus biomass resources available for power generation annually are about 189 million tonnes, which could support roughly 25 GW of installed capacity. Further, co-generation plants provide both heat and energy, used in the mill, and electricity, which is typically sold to the grid.

Bio fuels have the potential to replace over 50 percent of the global demand for gasoline by 2030, a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance states. According to the analysts, around 8.9 million jobs could be created globally. Furthermore, only 17.5 percent of the agricultural residue would be needed to overcome the global economy's dependency on crude oil, the report believes. More in Bio Fuels to Replace Over 50 Percent of Gasoline Demand by 2030

Cogeneration Conversion Could Generate 15 GW Electric Energy

It is estimated that about 15 GW of electricity generating capacity could be achieved through adding cogeneration capabilities in various industries including sugar mills, breweries, textile mills, distilleries, fertilizer plants, pulp and paper mills, and rice mills. In addition, there exists a potential of setting up 12 million family type biogas plants.... – More on page 2!

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