1. CAPTIVE BIOMASS ENERGY PLANTATIONS –
AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
12th Sept 2013
7th REI, New Delhi
2. About Us
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NG sustainable value added business models are in areas of Solar, Biomass and
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Funding, Turnkey Biomass Plantation Set-up and Management
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What is Biomass Energy?
Biomass energy is energy from the sun captured in organic materials derived from plants or animals. Sources of
Forestry residues, green waste from landfills, sawmill & other wood waste
Agricultural crops grown for energy purposes and other agricultural waste
Woody construction and debris waste
Sugarcane waste (bagasse)
Municipal solid waste (sewage sludge or other landfill organics)
Other industrial waste (i.e. paper sludge from paper recycling processes)
Biomass power generation facilities harness the energy stored in such organic materials to produce clean, renewable
power. Biomass power plants use this material for fuel, burning it under controlled, low emissions conditions to generate
electricity. Biomass energy can be generated by gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion or direct combustion
(100% biomass combustion or co-firing with coal at existing coal plants).
It is often said that Biomass power is the only power still available when the wind is not blowing & the sun is not
It provides 24 hour baseload power and at the same time, is green & cheap.
4. Biomass Power is Carbon Neutral
Biomass to electrical power facilities are also considered to be carbon neutral as CO2 emissions
generated by combustion are generally offset by the CO2 emissions consumed during the lifecycle of the
plant or tree. By comparison, the CO2 emissions released from the combustion of fossil fuels (such as
coal, oil and natural gas) add to the imbalance of carbon emissions in our atmosphere, which contributes
to global warming. Furthermore, today’s biomass facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art pollution
control equipment to reduce other air pollutants such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (“NOx”)
that would otherwise result from the open burning of biomass or from forest fires.
5. Current State of Biomass Power in India
Most biomass power plants in India have either shut down or are running at very low capacities due to nonavailability of feedstock.
A 1 MW plant would need, depending on calorific value, between 8000-10,000 tons of biomass feedstock
Biomass power plants are facing severe competition from industries which are switching to use of biomass as
fuel in boilers.
Industries can afford to pay a higher price for biomass procurement as this biomass is used as a
replacement to Furnace Oil / LDO / Diesel, prices of which have soared in the new millennium.
This has driven biomass prices from approx. Rs. 800 / ton 3 years back to as high as Rs. 6000 / ton today.
Biomass power plants cannot afford to buy biomass above Rs. 2500 – Rs. 3000 / ton as their Power
Purchase Rates with the State Electricity Boards are capped.
Some biomass power producers, struggling to pay off bank loans, have resorted to significant use of
cheaper coal as fuel defeating the whole purpose.
This has led to a situation where biomass power plant licenses are up for sale for which there are no buyers.
Certain states have stopped issuing new biomass power plant licenses.
Biomass power producers are lobbying hard for further increase in PPA rates.
6. What is the Solution?
Captive Biomass Energy Plantations i.e. growing your own biomass (such as fast growing trees / grasses etc.) on wastelands
for cost-effective feedstock security.
Biomass Tree characteristics:
Extremely high yield of <50 tons per acre p.a.
Grows in both tropical & sub-tropical zones
Suitable for even marginal lands
High headed tree, hence allows inter-cropping
Amenable for high density planting
Protocol for tissue culture already developed
Technology available for boosting growth & increasing yield
Can be harvested after either 6 months, 2 years or 4 years depending on species selected
Amenable for coppicing i.e. plant once and keep harvesting at regular intervals for 7-30 years depending on species
Free from serious pests & diseases
High calorific value of timber
7. Edge over other Renewables
Captive Plantationbased Biomass
Site specific Site specific
Capital cost / MW
Charcoal / Activated
Carbon / Biochar
8. Benefits of Biomass Plantations
Unutilized land will be used productively
Land quality and fertility to increase over the long run
Employment generation at the grassroots and village level – can reverse the migration of people to
cities by providing opportunities in rural areas close to their homes
Decentralized power generation leading to better grid efficiencies
High Plant Load Factor (PLF) of 85% assists the government to overcome its severe problem of power
shortage esp. during peak hours – unlike wind and solar which are irregular and unreliable.
Generation of 100% Clean, Green, Renewable Energy – leaving a better world for our future
Most secure fully integrated power plant model in India. Its like having your own “GREEN” coal mine.
This will avoid the problems being faced by Thermal Power Projects in India currently as supply of
fuel will never run out.
Biomass parks can be created in clusters of 2000 acres generating employment & revenues on
previously unused lands
Green power will help meet RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligation) targets
9. From this…
10. To this…
11. Tree Plantation pictures - Nursery
12. Field Layout
13. Drip Irrigation
14. Intercropping possible
15. Monitoring growth of Trees
16. 150 days old Plantation
17. 180 days old Plantation
18. 1 year old Plantation
19. 18 months old Plantation
2 YEAR OLD TREE DIAMETER - 19.5 Cm
D.O.P – 10.10.2007
21. Harvested Plantation & Coppicing
22. Harvested Biomass
23. Side Branches – 20 kg / tree
24. Underground Biomass – End of tree life
25. Grass Plantations – Land preparation
26. Planting & Growth after 25 Days
27. After 40 & 50 days
28. After 60 & 70 Days
29. Standing Grass Plantations
30. Standing Grass Plantations
31. Yours truly at the site. Note the Grass Height.
32. Harvested Clumps from where Grass is
33. Harvested Clumps from where Grass is
34. Is there enough Land??
Thermal Power Installed Capacity
1,30,000 MW* (assumed)
Land Area (Sq. Km.)
Land required to completely replace 0.16 Mn. Sq. Km. i.e. Less than 0.5% of the Total
current capacity @ 150 acres / MW Combined Land Area of 33 Mn.
Imp. to note that even this 0.5% land is technically always “available” and can be freed up for alternate
uses in future i.e. it is not “locked” up permanently as is the case with any other industry.
* For simplicity’s sake, it is assumed that Africa will also have the same power requirement as India, considering the
35. World Scenario
Thermal Power Installed Capacity
17,59,000 MW (2010)
14,89,40,000 Sq. Km.
Land required to completely replace current thermal power
capacity @ 150 acres / MW
10,68,218 Sq. Km. i.e. Less
than 0.72% of total land area
CO2 saved p.a. for INFINITY *
12.5 Bn. Tons
Reduction in fly ash generation p.a. for INFINITY **
500 Mn. Tons
Savings in Healthcare costs
Increase in Rainfall / Water Resources
* IEA, 2010
** Coal ash content assumed at an average of 20% while biomass ash content ranges from 5-10%. We have assumed 10%
36. Coal Thermal Power Plant Pollution
Pics courtesy: www.greenscroll.org
37. Coal Thermal Power Plant Pollution
Pics courtesy: www.greenpeace.org
38. Coal Thermal Power Plant Pollution
Pics courtesy: www.texasgreenreport.wordpress.com
39. What if Coal was replaced 100% with Biomass?
Caveat: Other renewables will also be a part of the global power generation mix but biomass is the only
renewable fuel that can replace coal in today’s power plants which cannot be simply discarded.
No incremental or new emissions of carbon dioxide (burning of coal releases stored CO2 whereas CO2
released by burning biomass is absorbed by the next biomass plantation growth cycle
CO2 emissions from Fossil Fuel use (57%) and Deforestation-related activities (17%) can be eliminated
through large scale biomass plantations
We are able to manufacture everything barring fuel. Its time to remedy that by growing fuel. That is
energy security in the truest sense.
India could save precious foreign exchange by replacing coal / oil imports with home grown biomass
Drastic reduction in air pollution and particulate matter
Improved health and well being of the human race
Large scale employment generation at the grassroots level
Living in harmony with nature instead of plundering it
Focus on creation rather than destruction which has been our bane so far
Sustainable and predictable fuel supply and prices
More equitable distribution of revenues from fuel compared to current scenario where Coal, Oil & Gas
reserves are concentrated in few countries – a more level playing field
40. The Possible Future??
BEFORE & AFTER
Pics courtesy: www.trenthead.com
41. The Possible Future??
BEFORE & AFTER
Pics courtesy: www.zmescience.com
42. The Possible Future??
BEFORE & AFTER
Pics courtesy: www.chinatravelgo.com
43. The Possible Future??
BEFORE & AFTER
Pics courtesy: Bill Bishop, www.washingtonpost.com
44. Is all this possible? Yes !!!
Need to change our priorities
Move from paying lip service to climate change to actual work on the ground
Jai S Rathod
Director – Business Development
Natural Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd.