In a bid to address the issue of air pollution due to stubble burning and bring down the carbon footprints of thermal power generation, the Ministry of Power has decided to set up a National Mission on the use of Biomass in coal-based thermal power plants. The move aims to support the energy transition from traditional to clean fuels in the country and our targets to move towards cleaner energy sources. Hence, the proposed mission is also envisaged to contribute to the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
According to the Ministry, the “National Mission on use of Biomass in thermal power plants” will have certain objectives including –
- To increase the level of co-firing from the present 5 per cent to higher levels to have a larger share of the carbon-neutral power generation from the thermal power plants.
- To take up research and development activities in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in the biomass pellets.
- To augment supply chains of biomass pellets and agro-residue and facilitate its transport to the power plants.
- To consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.
The modalities of operation and structure of the Nation Mission are under finalisation. It is being envisaged that the Mission would have a Steering Committee headed by Secretary, Ministry of Power, comprising of all stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), etc.
The Executive Committee would be headed by Member (Thermal), Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will play a larger role in providing logistic and infrastructure support in the proposed Mission. The Mission would have full-time officers from CEA, NTPC, DVC and NLC or other participating organisations. The duration of the Mission would be a minimum of five years. Further, the following Sub-Groups are proposed to be formed under the Mission. These include –
- Sub-Group 1: The group would be responsible to carry out research on properties/characteristics of biomass.
- Sub-Group 2: This group is proposed to be taking care of technical specification and safety aspects including research in boiler design, etc. to make it suitable to handle the pilot project for a higher amount of co-firing of biomass with coal in pulverised coal (PC) fired boilers.
- Sub-Group 3: This will be formed to resolve the issues in the supply chain during the mission period and sensitisation programme.
- Sub-Group 4: The group would be responsible to select designated labs and certification bodies for the testing of agro-based biomass pellets and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) pellets.
- Sub-Group 5: The group would be formed on the regulatory framework and economics of biomass co-firing in coal-based thermal power plants.
(With inputs from PIB)