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11 thermal plants near Delhi directed to co-fire with biomass

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Eleven thermal plants around Delhi, India, have been directed to co-fire with biomass pellets.

The Centre’s air quality commission has directed all 11 thermal power plants within a 300-kilometre (km) radius of Delhi to co-fire biomass pellets with coal, noting this could utilise millions of tonnes of biomass, helping to address the issue of stubble burning.

Paddy straw burning is a major problem in the National Capital region – a planning region encompassing Delhi and several surrounding districts, according to the Business Standard. The proper utilisation of paddy straw is an important strategy to prevent crop stubble burning, the Commission for Airy Quality Management (CAQM) said.

“The commission directs all the 11 thermal power plants within a 300 km radius of Delhi to co-fire with biomass-based pellets/torrefied pellets,” said CAQM. “This will ensure ex-situ management of paddy straw, reduction in air pollution, and improvement of paddy straw utilisation as an economic resource.”

The CAQM said it conducted extensive stakeholder consultations with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and other state and private power plant operators on the potential use of paddy stubble. The NTPC, based on ‘extensive trials’, said it is technically feasible to co-fire biomass pellets (up to 5-10%) in thermal power plants without needing to modify the boilers.