New Delhi: 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 has decided to set up a National Mission on use of Biomass in coal-based thermal power plants, the ministry said on Tuesday. "This would further support the energy transition in the country and our targets to move towards cleaner energy sources," it added. The primary objective of the National Mission on use of Biomass in coal-based thermal power plants is to increase the level of co-firing from the present 5 percent to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon neutral power generation from thermal power plants.
The mission will also aim to take up R&D activity in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in biomass pellets, facilitate overcoming the constraints in supply chain of bio mass pellets and agro- residue and its transport upto to the power plants and will 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 Power Secretary Alok Kumar, comprising of all stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) etc. The Executive Committee would be headed by Central Electricity Authority's (CEA) Member (Thermal).
State-run 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 organisations. The duration of the proposed National Mission would be a minimum of five years.
The ministry has also proposed to form sub-groups under the mission for carrying out research on properties/ characteristics of biomass and technical specification and safety aspects, including research in boiler design etc to handle the pilot project for higher amount of co-firing of biomass with coal in pulverised coal (PC) fired boilers. Other sub-groups would be responsible for resolving the issues of supply chain during the mission period and sensitisation programme and selecting designated labs and certification bodies for testing of agro-based biomass pellets and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) pellets. Another sub-group would 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 to the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), said the ministry.