Bio-energy refers to energy derived from biological products which includes agricultural residues, municipal, industrial and other wastes.
  • Biomass has always been an important energy source for the country considering the benefits it offers. It is renewable, widely available, and carbon-neutral and has the potential to provide significant employment in the rural areas.
  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has realized the potential and role of biomass energy in the Indian context and hence has initiated a number of programmes for promotion of efficient technologies for its use in various sectors of the economy to ensure derivation of maximum benefits.
  • Biomass power & cogeneration programme is implemented with the main objective of promoting technologies for optimum use of country’s biomass resources for grid power generation. Biomass materials used for power generation include bagasse, rice husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut shells, soya husk, de-oiled cakes, coffee waste, jute wastes, and groundnut shells, saw dust etc.
  • The current availability of biomass in India is estimated at about 500 million metric tons per year.
  • The thermo chemical processes for conversion of biomass to useful products involve combustion, gasification or pyrolysis. The most commonly used route is combustion. The exhaust of the steam turbine can either be fully condensed to produce power, or used partly or fully for another useful heating activity. The latter mode is called cogeneration. In India, cogeneration route finds application mainly in industries.
  • Sugar industry has been traditionally practicing cogeneration by using bagasse as a fuel. With the advancement in the technology for generation and utilization of steam at high temperature and pressure, sugar industry can produce electricity and steam for their own requirements. It can also produce significant surplus electricity for sale to the grid using same quantity of bagasse.
  • Biomass gasification is thermochemical conversion of biomass into a combustible gas mixture (producer gas) through a partial combustion route with air supply restricted to less than that theoretically required for full combustion.

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