India: NTPC Successfully Demonstrates 20% Torrefied Biomass Co-Firing

NTPC, India’s leading integrated power utility, has achieved a new milestone by successfully demonstrating Co-firing of 20wt.% Torrefied Biomass at its Unit# 4 at Tanda in UP, thereby marking a significant stride towards building a sustainable future. The initiative, a first of its kind in the Indian Power Sector, showcases NTPC’s commitment to decarbonizing existing coal-fired fleets and advancing towards Net Zero Emission targets.


Earlier, NTPC established co-firing of 7% to 10% non-torrefied biomass with coal at NTPC Dadri. However, to achieve higher percentages of biomass co-firing without major modifications, the possibility of using torrefied biomass was explored by Energy Transition and Policy Research Division of NTPC Engineering.


Torrefied biomass, produced by heating biomass in the absence of oxygen, exhibits characteristics akin to coal, making it suitable for higher co-firing percentages without significant system modifications. The Gross Calorific Value (GCV) and cost of torrefied biomass pellets are currently equivalent to imported coal.


NTPC’s endeavor towards decarbonization includes exploring biomass co-firing in both existing and new coal power plants. Each percent of biomass co-firing has the potential to reduce Carbon Emissions by approximately the same percentage. Additionally, biomass co-firing also mitigates air pollution caused by direct burning of stubble in the fields by the farmers.


NTPC looks forward to a significant potential for cost reduction in the long run with the maturity of technology and market, setting a benchmark for sustainable power generation practices in the country. In total NTPC has awarded 52 Lakh MT of Biomass pellets for 20 NTPC stations and 01 Joint venture (APCPL-Jhajjar) and as of now total Biomass pellets receipt/ cofired  at 13 NTPC and 02  Joint Venture (APCPL-Jhajjar& NSPCL Bhilai) stations is 254063 MT.


To spread awareness regarding biomass pellets manufacturing from agro residue, NTPC is setting up biomass pellet plant at various locations, such as 22 TPD Non Torrefied pellet plant at Lehra Mohabbat, Bhatinda, 100 TPD Torrefied and 100 TPD Non Torrefied pellet plant at APCPL-Jhajjar, and 50 TPD Non Torrefied pellet plant at NCPS-Dadri. Biomass pellets produced from pellet plants will be utilised in cofiring in thermal power stations.