K M Dayashankar
NEW DELHI: NTPC Ltd, India’s largest integrated power producer, has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) to produce torrefied biomass pellets from Indian startups.
Through its R&D wing, NETRA, NTPC intends to provide a platform to Indian startups to enable them to develop advanced technology for producing torrefied biomass pellets that are well-suited for decentralized small-scale users. The last date of submission of the proposals titled, “Torrefied Pellet Manufacturing Plant for Agri-Waste” is 19th May 2022.
The move by NTPC is expected to reinforce NTPC’s commitment to developing the biomass ecosystem in the country and will provide a unique platform for the Indian startups to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ Bharat and also contribute toward the ambitious Make in India movement.
India produces an estimated 230 MMTA of biomass that is either wasted or burnt. Biomass co-firing in power plants has proven to be a major solution to cater to this menace thereby reducing carbon footprint in the environment. NTPC has been the pioneer in co-firing Biomass in its coal-fired power plants. Since the adoption of co-firing, NTPC has been continuously engaged in strengthening the entire Biomass sector value chain in various dimensions. Many of the NTPC plants have already started the requisite co-firing of biomass pellets with coal. Long-term procurement action has also been initiated for many plants.
Till now, the focus has been centred mainly on non-torrefied biomass pellets. However, for bulk utilization of biomass, torrefied biomass pellet production needs to be given importance, as torrefied biomass pellet has more energy density, and its characteristics are closer to coal. Further, torrefied biomass pellets will reduce average transportation costs. Currently, the technology for torrefied pellets is still in the nascent stage of development.
The Union Ministry of Power has set up the National Mission for the use of Biomass in thermal power plants (Mission SAMARTH) and has mandated 5-10 per cent co-firing of Biomass in all coal-fired thermal power plants in the country. Biomass co-firing in power plants has also been included in the Union Budget speech-2022 as an important tool for carbon reduction and income generation for the farmers.