Bioenergy utilisation


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Energy from biomass has become more important today as intelligent development and utilization of this resource help highly populated countries like India.

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Bioenergy utilisation

  1. 1. MODERNISED BIOMASS ENERGY FOR S U S TA I N A B L E D E V E LO P M E N T Roughly one third of the world’s population—more than two billion people—have little or no access to modern energy services. A majority of these people live in poverty. The acute symptoms of this poverty, as well as its chronic causes, are critically linked in many ways to today’s patterns of energy production and use. Recognizing that existing energy systems are not sustainable, the United Nations Development Program created the Sustainable Energy and Environment Division, which has initiated a Global Program in Sustainable Energy. A fundamental premise of the Global Program in Sustainable Energy is that energy is not an end in itself, but rather a means to achieve the goal of sustainable human development. Sustainable human development requires a focus on improving the access of the poor to assets, goods, and services, including food (and the means to prepare it), water for drinking and irrigation, adequate shelter, health care, sanitation, education, and employment. Energy can play a critical role, but conventional energy strategies that rely on supply focused, fossil-intensive, large-scale approaches do not address the needs of the poor. As Reddy, Williams, and Johansson (1997) pointed out: …Not only is energy one of the determinants of these problems, but actions relating to energy can contribute to their alleviation, if not solution. 1
  2. 2. Implementing sustainable energy strategies is one of the most important levers humankind has for creating a sustainable world. Energy must therefore be an instrument for the achievement of sustainable development… Bioenergy—that is, energy that is derived from wood and other plant matter—is an important potential contributor to sustainable energy strategies, particularly when converted to modern energy carriers such as electricity and liquid and gaseous fuels. The purpose of this discussion is to see how India can realize bioenergy’s potential. It is based on two premises: (1) Bioenergy is an important part of today’s imperfect energy system, and (2)Modernized bioenergy systems, if appropriately designed and implemented, have great promise for contributing to future sustainable energy systems and thus to sustainable development. Bioenergy projects can contribute directly to poverty alleviation by helping to meet basic needs, creating opportunities for improved productivity and better livelihoods, and preserving the natural environment on which the poor depend. For instance, bioenergy activities can provide locally produced energy sources to: pump water for drinking and irrigation, light homes, schools, and health clinics, improve communication and access to information, provide energy for local enterprises, and ease pressure on fuel wood resources. These are all benefits that directly improve local quality of life, increase productivity, and help relieve the strains of rural poverty. 2
  3. 3. Biomass production can provide a wide range of additional benefits to the rural poor. Bioenergy feedstocks can be produced in conjunction with other local necessities—food, fodder, fuelwood, construction materials, artisan materials, other agricultural crops, etc. Feedstock production can help restore the environment on which the poor depend for their livelihoods—re-vegetating barren land, protecting watersheds and harvesting rainwater, providing habitat for local species, stabilizing slopes or river banks, or reclaiming waterlogged and salinated soils. Bioenergy activities also serve as an efficient use for agricultural residues, avoiding the pest, waste, and pollution problems of residue disposal. If designed with the involvement of local communities, a sensitivity toward local environmental constraints, and a clear objective of meeting the identified needs of the poor, bioenergy activities can contribute significantly to the sustainable livelihood of rural populations. METHODS OF GENERATING ENERGY FROM BIOMASS Nearly all types of raw biomass decompose rather quickly, so few are very good long-term energy stores; and because of their relatively low energy densities, they are likely to be rather expensive to transport over appreciable distances. Recent years have therefore seen considerable effort devoted to the search for the best ways to use these potentially valuable sources of energy. In considering the methods for extracting the energy, it is possible to order them by the complexity of the processes involved: 3
  4. 4.  Direct combustion of biomass.  Thermochemical processing to upgrade the biofuel. Processes in this category include pyrolysis, gasification and liquefaction.  Biological processing. Natural processes such as anaerobic digestion and fermentation which lead to a useful gaseous or liquid fuel. The immediate product, of some of these processes is heat - normally used at place of production or at not too great a distance, for chemical processing or district heating, or to generate steam for power production. For other processes the product is a solid, liquid or gaseous fuel: charcoal, liquid fuel as a petrol substitute or additive, gas for sale or for power generation using either steam or gas turbines. ROLE OF BIOFUELS IN RURAL ELECTRIFICATION One of the renewable energy technology options for electrification of rural area is biodiesel based distributed power generation. Along with Small hydro, Solar PV, Community Biomethanation plant and Biomass gasifier, it is an option that is being developed and evaluated. As diesel engine generator set is already a large base for backup power, supplementing the grid supply, substituting with biodiesel as fuel and engine fine tuning can give this renewable alternative an advantage among these options. Distributed generation in rural areas based on both nonrenewable and renewable energy sources and comparison of present options have been studied recently by TERI and Energy Systems Engineering Group of I. I. T., Bombay (Mumbai).1-2 The first paper discusses the experience in 4
  5. 5. renewable energy rural projects and the second paper reviews the different technological options available for DG, their current status, evaluation based on cost of generation and future potential in India. Biodiesel based distributed power generation is useful in providing power for rural domestic and irrigation needs. It will substitute diesel and create local employment in villages. Tree growing, oil extraction and biodiesel production: The feasibility of using tree borne nonedible oil crops as a renewable source of liquid fuel is being established under a National Biodiesel Mission in 2004-07. Scope of biofuel plantations as a rural livelihood option has been studied and Case Studies for Biodiesel, Producer gas from Gasifier and Biogas from Biomethanation Plant as engine fuels to run generators have been made,.3-5 to examine possibilities of sustainable power for rural areas where these biofuels can be produced. Oil from the seeds is collected by use of expellers and through the chemical process of transesterification, these nonedible oils (e.g., Pongamia, Jatropha) are converted to biodiesel. These technologies can be made accessible to the villages. No major engine modifications are needed for diesel engine though modification of injector system may be developed to enable use of duel fuel / multi-fuel of gaseous or liquid state. The cost of micro-grid electricity production from renewable biofuels for a typical rural scale can be made competitive when all the steps are stabilized with actual operational experience. Rural electrical power needs for domestic, village industry and irrigation purposes constitutes the demand side. For local production of biodiesel, opportunity cost of required land, silvicultural expenses, and 5
  6. 6. processing costs should be met within the price that can be charged for the biodiesel. Electricity Generation: With the new Electricity Act (2003) eliminating the earlier licensing requirements on generation and distribution, decentralized schemes have far more scope. Assessment of local demand and the cost per unit of generation for this scale are to be carefully made. Consider a group of villages that have shortage of power supply but have some basic infrastructure of the existing state EB grid. The village consumers, local NGO, the Electricity Regulatory Commission and experienced IPP company managers may come together to plan a strategy for rural electrification. An Electric Utility Company for small scale production and distribution of power may be planned and promoted 6. Power to meet the demand (e.g., 500kW) is to be generated by ‘Gensets’ that may use economical fuel using the engine tuned to it. The fuel could be biodiesel, biogas, producer gas, or even petrol, kerosene and diesel. Besides the utilization of Solar PV, Wind energy may also be made if suitable. The idea is to produce reasonably priced electricity from any fuel but preferably from renewable energy sources. The State Electricity Distribution Company that owns the infrastructure of electric lines, poles, transformers and so on may be a partner in the scheme. Policy Issues: To foster corporate, NGO and government cooperation and partnership, many issues have to be addressed: 6
  7. 7. a) Efforts should be made to meet the capital costs of the plant through subsidy, loan on soft terms etc, that are granted by the Government of India under its Rural development through electrification Schemes. For villages that are not electrified, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidutikaran Yojana (RGGGVY) provides 90% subsidy. Similar subsidies may be provided to villages that get less than eight hours of electricity but have potential for development if the power shortage is overcome and this capital subsidy can really help the government’s effort in rural development b) Depending upon the fuel used, the cost of power to the Company may vary. For fixing tariffs, utility company may approach Electricity Regulatory Commission for a suitable structure, after discussion with the stakeholders. If the company use only renewable energy for power generation, then they are eligible for further soft credit for leasing infrastructure c) A study has indicated that significant land requirement would be needed for biodiesel provision in a Indian village if biodiesel alone has to meet the electricity demand 7. For local production of biodiesel, in the initial stages, provision of low cost waste land, NOVOD Board subsidy and advice for tree selection, silviculture practices, would help. Infrastructure creation for expelling oil and establishment of chemical process plant and help with know-how and training are also needed.. 7
  8. 8. References: 1. ‘Enhancing electricity access in rural areas through distributed generation based on renewable energy’, TERI-Policy Discussion Forum (PDF) Base Paper, based on that authored by Akanksha Chaurey, Malini Ranganathan and Parimitha Mohanty, submitted to and under review with Energy Policy (2002) 2. ‘Comparison of Options for Distributed electricity Generation in India’, Rangan Banerjee, Energy Policy,34,(2006),101-111 3. ‘Scope for biofuel plantation as a livelihood option, Case study from Jharkhand and Orissa, Resources, Energy and Development, 2 (1), 65-82. 4. ‘Sustainable biomass power for rural India: Case study of biomass gasifier for village electrification’, N. H. Ravindranath, H. l. Somashekar, S. Dasappa and C.N. Jayasheela Reddy, Current Science,87,(2004), 932-941 5. ‘Decentralized electricity generation and management-Experience of BAIF’, G.N.S. Reddy, G.V. Hegde, and C. Doreswamy, BAIF, Pune. 6. Anil. K .Rajavanshi, Director, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute, Phaltan, Maharashstra,[9, January 2006], 7. ‘Feasibility of biodiesel for rural electrification in India’, [DRAFT, June 2000], Jeffrey L. Rosenblum, Carnegy Mellon University, (now at Tellus Institute, ) 8