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India reports successful 2011 for bioenergy projects

The Indian government says last year it intensified its bioenergy power generation across the country and now 30 villages in total have had biomass gasifiers installed.

The government says it also has plans to add a further 30,000MW capacity of renewable energy, adding to the 22,000MW capacity that has now been installed within the grid across India, which is about 11% of all energy generated in the country.

Thanks to the new installations in 2011, about 1,000 villages were powered through renewable energy, although this included solar, wind and hydro power, as well as biomass-to-energy.

Nearly 500MW of energy was derived from biomass in 2011, which added to the total of 3,056MW cumulative biomass power/bagasse cogeneration based power capacity.

The federal government plans to continue with two cogeneration projects, where it is both building a sugar mill and installing a boiler upgrade at a sugar mill, to hit a target of 2,600MW.

Biomass feedstocks such as rice husks, corn, cotton, woodchips and other agricultural residues have been used throughout 2011 to power biomass gasifiers. Around 70 remote villages in the East Champaran, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi regions received new renewable energy powered by 25 gasifiers run on rice husk systems.

A further 120 gasifiers of this kind are now being planned for villages in Bihar and about 30 rice mills have had rice husk gasifier systems retrofitted with existing diesel generating sets saving about 1.3 million liters of diesel annually. Another 60 such installations in rice mills throughout India are also planned.

In the biogas sector in the country, the government has begun a new initiative to encourage regions to install medium-sized, biogas-fertilizer plants for generation, purification/enrichment, bottling and piped distribution of biogas.

Already under the project more than 20 plants of this kind have been planned and two have been commissioned.