This study traverses the potential of biomass energy
for power generation in India. India being an agrarian economy seriously needs
to review the management of the surplus waste it produces from agriculture,
industry, forestry etc. Power capacity and the surplus of raw materials suited
to this carbon neutral energy form are the key factors with respect to
infrastructure which need to be accounted for, so that the power potential of
this source of renewable energy is completely realised. Once the availability
and magnitude of these factors are taken into consideration, the next important
aspect which follows is the economic feasibility of the power plants. For this,
it is imperative that a thorough benefit cost analysis is undertaken
considering all the vital components of cost.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
With this study the following objectives are to be
analyse the factors with respect to infrastructure which influence the need of
biomass energy in India.
analyse the cost structure of a biomass power plant with reference to the
Biomass power plant in Maharashtra.
RATIONALE BEHIND TAKING UP THE
per the British Petroleum Review of World Energy, India in the year 2016 had consumed
724 million tonnes oil equivalent in the category of primary energy. Consumption,
according to this review, is divided among coal, with an approximate 412
million tonnes (57%); oil, being 213 million tonnes (29%); natural gas, at 45
million tonnes (6%); hydro-electricity, with the value of 29 million tonnes
(4%); biomass and other renewable sources, amounting to 17 million tonnes (2%); and nuclear energy standing at a
mere 9 million tonnes (1%).
and oil continue to wield influence in terms of the energy requirement in India
having a lion’s share in the energy market. However, at the same time India
being a signatory to the COP21 agreement has to submit its “intended nationally
determined contributions” (INDC’s) stating their plans to reduce GHG emissions.
One of the key tenets of the
INDC is to increase the share of installed capacity of biomass
energy to 10 GW by the year 2022. The study is an attempt to further the
analysis of the scope of biomass energy as a renewable source and the potential
it carries in the generation of power.
has been a realization on the necessity to look up for the renewable
energy-based alternatives so as to meet the energy requirements in a
sustainable way. In India, among the
many renewable energy sources, technologies centred on bio energy have been encouraged
for meeting the rural electricity needs (Ravindranath, 2010). Further, of all
the bio energy technologies, the biomass gasifier option for meeting the rural
electricity needs of domestic, agricultural and rural industrial activities
among many others is shown to have a large potential.
According to a study conducted by N.H. Ravindranth,
H.I. Somashekhar and Jayasheela Reddy at the Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore, on the performance of a gasifier in the village of Hosahalli,
Karnataka, a 20kw energy generator was used for lighting the village and
drinking water supply was provided using biomass electricity since the year
2000, catering to electricity needs of the village, 85 per cent of the time for
the past six years.
happens to have a large potential of biomass feed stock, as the amount of
agricultural and forest residues it produces will suffice to make these
resource inputs efficiently utilised in the biomass generation system (Anil
Kumar et al, 2015).
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
a pressing concern at the global front and in India on the usage of fossil
fuels, it becomes imperative for India to start utilizing its renewable energy
sources to the fullest capacity. India being the 7th largest
country in the world and covering a resounding 328
million hectares is certainly bestowed with various renewable
sources of energy. Among the renewable energy sources available, biomass has
played a significant role especially in India, as it comprises of the major
energy sources to majority of households in India. Biomass energy is defined as
the utilization of organic and complex classes of feed stocks with a prominent energy
potential as to apply different technologies for the recovery of energy. India produces about 450-500 million tonnes of
biomass per year. Biomass provides 32% of all the primary energy use in the
country at present.
for biomass energy
Defined as the bio residue
available by means of water based vegetation, forest or organic waste, the by-
product of crop production, agro or food industrial waste, there are a plethora
of biomass resources that are available in India in different forms.
Residue as Input Resource
has an abundance of land area under agriculture, and as a result residues are
produced here in massive amounts. These residues act as the contents of the biomass
feedstock to be further used for energy generation. All the organic entities
which are produced as the by-product from processing the harvesting of
agricultural crop are referred to as agricultural residues. These residues can
be further classified as primary and secondary residues. Residue obtained in
the field at the time of yield is known as field based residue that is primary
residue, whereas those which are assembled during processing are known as secondary
residue. Sugar cane tops, rice straw etc.fall under primary residue whereas bagasse,
rice husk etc are instances of secondary residues.
Biomass and Installation Capacity
The capacity installed of several grid- interactive
Biomass power during the commencement of the 11th Plan period in the country
stood at 1,184 MW. It had increased to the tune of 4,123 MW in March 2014,
which accounted for 23 per cent of India’s Biomass potential standing at 17,981
1: Total Installed Capacity as on July 31st, 2016
INSTALLED (IN MW)
TARGET FOR 2022 (IN
SMALL HYDRO POWER
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)
As per the data of the MNRE on the total capacity
installed of the various renewable energy power plants, Biomass power
constitutes approximately 11 per cent of total capacity installed in the year
As for the target for the year 2022, the biomass has
to cover more than halfway to achieve its ambitious target of 10,000 MW of
1.1.3. THE COSTS OF BIOMASS ENERGY IN INDIA
costs associated with the production of biomass energy fall in an erratic and wide
range on account of the variety of feedstock being used. The cost of biomass
energy also depends upon the distance of the feedstock from the power plant. Also,
some forms of Biomass costlier than others. Co-generation plants or CHP plants
are known to be the cheapest biomass plants while the standalone biomass plants
which are capable of using a variety of feedstock are in fact expensive in
nature. Unlike the solar and wind power, the investing in power plants of
biomass is usually not fixed.
CHAPTER 2: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATIONS
The study makes
use of secondary data on the key components of biomass energy from various
relevant sources at governmental and institutional levels. The dependent
variable in this study is the power potential of the renewable energy that is
biomass in the region while the independent variables include such
infrastructure factors as the availability of raw materials i.e., surplus
availability of biomass residue and the technical input for power generation
i.e., the capacity of the plant set up in the region.
Key factors of power generation
The biomass energy generation
in India is dependent on the key factors which include the surplus of biomass
generated in the area as well as the capacity of biomass gasifiers set up in
the area under consideration.
Surplus, here, refers to the
availability of crop residue after the agricultural crop is harvested.
The plant capacity refers to
the number of grid connected and off-grid plants set up in the region.
It is pertinent to say that,
Power Potential of a Biomass Plant=f (Availability
of surplus agro residue, plant capacity of the biomass plant)
the null hypothesis)
be that the power potential of a biomass plant be independent of the
availability of surplus and plant capacity of the biomass plant.
the alternative hypothesis will be clearly the fact that there is some
level of dependency of the power potential with surplus availability and plant
is, PP = (PC)
Where, PP is the power potential ( in MWe)
AA is the agro-residue availability (in kT/yr)
PC the plant capacity ( in MW)
PC, the plant capacity
1: State wise data on surplus availability, power potential and total installed
capacity as reported in July 2016
Total Capacity(in Mwe)
Source: MNRE Annual Report 2015-2016
2: The Regression Model
Potential Of Biomass Energy
2.1.1 Findings and Interpretations
3: Summary output
Adjusted R Square
Biomass Surplus (kT/Yr)
Plant Capacity (MW)
The data analysis carried out
in Microsoft Excel shows that the equation (1) can be represented as follows:
PP= 739.567+ 15.347AA+92.268PC …
Since the p values of both the
variables in the regression statistics are less than 0.05, there is a
statistically significant relationship between the dependent and the two
The variable biomass surplus
availability is relatively more statistically significant than the plant
capacity as it has a p value lower than the latter.
From equation (2), the
following statement can be deduced:
If the surplus availability of agro residue
increases by 1 kT/Yr,the power potential of the plant goes up by about 15.4
MWe. If the plant capacity increases by 1 MW, keeping the other variable
constant, the power potential will go up by approximately 92 MWe.
Again, one can say if the surplus availability and
power capacity were to be zero; the power potential would have been 739.567
Cost Analysis of Biomass Energy in India with
reference to a power generation system in Akola, Maharashtra
The biomass gasifier set up in
the region of Akola, Maharashtra has an installed capacity of 10 kilo watt
which was functional from March, 2009 and has a lifetime of 20 years.
The feasibility of any plant
is ascertained on the basis of three prominent types of costs viz, the Capital
Costs, the Operations and Management Costs and the levelised cost of replacements.
These three cost structures are studied with respect to the plant in Akola.
The sum total of the three
cost components yields the cost of energy for the biomass power generation
Table 4: Cost and Returns of
the 10kw biomass plant (operational for 22h)
Operation and Maintenance Cost
Levelised Replacement Cost
Total Cost Of Energy
Return Per Unit
Present Worth Of Benefit(INR)
Present Worth Of Cost(INR)
Source: Institute of Agricultural Engineering and
Analysis and Interpretation:
As per the 2014 report of the
institute, the various cost and benefit components are tabulated in Table 4.
The capital cost from the
values constitutes approximately 26.5% of the total cost of energy.
The operational and
maintenance cost gather a major share with about 73% while the smallest share
is occupied by the levelised replacement cost which has an approximate share of
A benefit to cost ratio is the
ratio of the present worth of benefit to the present worth of cost. As per the
table, this value will be 1.238 which is greater than 0, indicating the fact
that the implementation of this power generation system is feasible. This is
also evident from the observation that Return per unit exceeds the total cost
of energy by a value of 1.264 which is in fact the profit per unit.
An analysis of the resources and the corresponding potential
of biomass have been brought to the fore through this study. It is convenient
to conclude that a high degree potential exists for the exploration of the available
biomass in India so as to convert it to energy to be further used for power
generation. Scores of bio energy sources in various forms are available in our
sources can be exploited optimally to obtain waste biomass which includes the
likes of agricultural waste, food wastes, industrial wastewaters generated in huge
volumes which hitherto hint the tendency among people to divert it to non
conventional sources of energy. A number of agencies, institutions, industries
are adopting the practice of conversion of different waste biomass to energy in
India and reporting benefits from the same.
The cost analysis in terms of the key components
namely the capital cost, the operation and management cost as well as the
levelised replacement costs are important to the understanding of the economic
feasibility of a power project, especially to a biomass power plant where these
costs change the most depending on the nature of the plant and the residue
under consideration. The sum total of these costs gives us the total cost of
the energy plant. Weighing the costs and returns can tell us whether the plant
is economically feasible (which means a benefit cost ratio greater than 0) or
not so (for a benefit cost ratio less than 0). For the case of the biogas power
plant in Maharashtra, the power generation project is commercially viable.
1 Ravindranath, Somashekhar, Jayasheela Reddy.
Biomass energy and Environment,2010
2 Vivek Khambalkar, Dhiraj S Kharale. Cost and
Feasibility of gasifier plants,2009
3 Biomass Knowledge Portal, MNRE, Govt of
4 Anil Kumar, Nitin Kumar, Ashish Shukla. A review
of biomass energy resources, potential, conversion and policy in India, 2015
5 Ravinder Kumar. A cost analysis of coal-fired
6 Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.
7 Kamrul Hassan ,Karthikeyan Natarajan, Paavo
Pelkonen, Anas Zyadin and Ari Pappinen. Feedstock supply for biomass plant
development in India,2015