India: Power Ministry decides to set up National Mission on use of biomass in coal based thermal power plants

In order to address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprints of thermal power generation, the Ministry of Power on Tuesday decided to set up a National Mission on use of biomass in coal-based thermal power plants. The ministry said this would further support the energy transition in the country and our targets to move towards cleaner energy sources.

According to the Ministry of Power, the objective of the “National Mission on use of biomass in thermal power plants” will be to increase the level of co-firing from the present 5 per cent to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon-neutral power generation from the thermal power plants, to take up R&D activity in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in the biomass pellets, to facilitate overcoming the constraints in the supply chain of biomass pellets and agro-residue and its transport upto to the power plants and to consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.

“The modalities of operation and structure of the Nation Mission are under finalization. It 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.,” it said.

It further said the Executive Committee would be headed by Member (Thermal), CEA. NTPC will play a larger role in providing logistic and infrastructure support in the proposed National Mission.

“The Mission would have full-time officers from CEA, NTPC, DVC and NLC or other participating organizations. The duration of the proposed National Mission would be a minimum of 5 years,” it added.

The ministry has also formed five Sub-Groups under the Mission. Sub-Group 1 will be responsible to carry out research on properties/ characteristics of biomass, Sub-Group 2 will carry out technical specification and safety aspects including research in boiler design, etc. to handle the pilot project for the higher amount of co-firing of biomass with coal in pulverized coal (PC) fired boilers.

Furthermore, Sub-Group 3 is for resolving the issues of the supply chain during the mission period and sensitization programme, Sub-Group 4 to select designated labs and certification bodies for the testing of agro-based biomass pellets and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) pellets and Sub-Group 5 will be formed on regulatory framework and economics of biomass co-firing in coal-based thermal power plants.

The proposed National Mission on biomass will also contribute in the National Clean Air Programme. (ANI)