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