Union Power Secretary recently chaired the second meeting of the Steering Committee for SAMARTH i.e. National Mission on Use of Biomass in coal-based thermal Power Plants. He reviewed the status of biomass co-firing and the progress of the actions being taken to promote the co-firing in the thermal power plants in the meeting.
To reduce stubble burning and to reduce the carbon footprint of Thermal Power Plants while increasing the income of farmers, the Government of India has taken various proactive steps with the establishment of the National Mission on Use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants. The agro-residue/ biomass earlier considered as a waste product has now begun to produce zero-carbon electricity for the citizens of the country. In turn, farmers are getting additional income by selling the stubble/ biomass for conversion into torrefied/ non-torrefied biomass pellets. For overall monitoring of the Mission and to facilitate the Mission on inter-ministerial issues/constraints, a Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Power (MoP) has been constituted.
Ministry of Power’s policy on “Biomass Utilization for Power Generation through Co-firing in Coal-based Power Plants” issued in October 2021 mandates all thermal power plants in the country to use 5 to 10% biomass along with coal for power production. The policy has started showing promising results.
As of date, approximately 59,000 metric tonnes (MT) of biomass has been co-fired in thermal power plants in the country, while tenders for 12 million metric tonnes (MMT) are at different stages of process for short term & long term duration. Out of this, the biomass co-fired in the NCR region stands at 21000 MT, and tenders floated in the region are about 5.50 MMT. Contracts have already been awarded for more than 11 lakh MT of biomass pellets.
It has been observed that NTPC has emerged as a leader in biomass users having co-fired approx. 58,000 MT of biomass, while tendering a total of 10.7 MMT over a short-term and long-term basis. Among the State Governments, while Haryana State Genco has been able to co-fire around 550 MT of biomass in two of its stations and float tenders worth 11 lakh metric tonnes. Some of the Public and Private generating companies have started co-firing small quantities of biomass in Punjab, UP, and Maharashtra. The results so far are encouraging and there is still a long way to go before the country can achieve its target of 5-10% co-firing in all plants in the country. This will be achieved with the active participation of all Central/State Gencos and Independent Power Producers (IPPs).