Bengal power plants fail to source biomass pellets for co-firing mandate

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The state-owned West Bengal Power Development Company Ltd (WBPDCL) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) in India have both failed in sourcing biomass pellets after no vendors participated in the tenders floated by them, reported Energy World.
West Bengal's thermal power plants are unable to comply with the Union power minister's 5% biomass co-firing mandate due to a lack of biomass pellets of agricultural residues, a senior official said on Tuesday. Biomass co-firing is the practice of substituting a part of the fuel with biomass at coal thermal plants.
"There are technical and commercial challenges. The biggest concern is logistics," said state power secretary S Suresh Kumar at the DVC-organised stakeholders' meeting on sustainable co-firing of biomass in thermal power plants.
Officials stated that due to lack of availability, they are unable to execute the eco-friendly measures, though they had identified two power plants in Sagardighi and Bakreshwar to carry out trials.
The Union power ministry mandated a 5% blend of biomass pellets made in October 2021, primarily of agro-residue, along with coal, and the obligation was scheduled to rise to 7% after two years. It also earmarked the minimum period of contract for pellet procurement for seven years to avoid any delay and build up a long-term supply chain.
India has a surplus of 230 million tonnes of agricultural residue available, but its pellet manufacturing capacity is only 7,000 tonnes per day at present, officials said.

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