March 09, 2023
In October 2021, the Ministry of Power (MoP) mandated the use of biomass residue for co-firing in coal-based thermal power plants. The policy was introduced to address the twin challenges of curbing emissions from coal power plants and pollution from burning crop residue. According to the policy, coal is to be replaced with densified biomass, called pellets, by 5–10 per cent by weight.
The Centre for Science and Environment conducted an extensive field survey to understand the status of biomass co-firing, and what limits its uptake in the 11 coal-based power plants in Delhi NCR. Records show that not even one per cent of the coal used has been replaced with biomass in any of the coal thermal power plants in Delhi NCR. Co-firing is being carried out only intermittently based on the availability of biomass. Keeping a check on the escalating cost of biomass pellets and providing more clarity when it comes to regulatory mechanisms are two measures that can help with the implementation of the mandate.
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