Therefore, the unit cost of biomass pellet, UC bp , can be estimated as. The levelized cost of electricity is estimated as the ratio of the total annualized cost of the biomass power plant to the annual amount of electricity produced by a biomass power plant using biomass pellets as a feedstock. The annualized cost comprises the annualized capital cost, annual operation cost including the cost of fuel , and annual repair and maintenance cost.
The salvage value of the BPPP project at the end of its useful life has been assumed to be negligibly small in writing the Eq. There are two main cropping seasons in India, viz. The gross cropped area includes land areas subjected to multiple cropping normally double cropping , mainly in irrigated land.
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The specific ratios of residue-to-grain production of different crops are taken from Tripathi et al. Source: Ravindranath et al. The use of crop residues varies from region to region and depends on the calorific values of individual crops, their lignin content, density, palatability by livestock, and nutritive value. The residues of most cereals and pulses have fodder value. However, the woody nature of the residues of some crops restricts their utilization to fuel use only.
The dominant end uses of crop residues in India are as fodder for cattle, fuel for cooking, and thatch material for housing Purohit and Fischer India has the largest cattle population of million Intodia in the world in followed by Brazil and China. The straws and stovers of rice, wheat, finger millet, maize, sorghum, bulrush millet, and sugar cane tops are the major lean season feeds used by farmers, alone or supplemented according to availability and the financial status of the farmer Suttie ; Ravindranath et al.
Where cereals are concerned, the use of crop residues as fodder is the top priority in rural areas. Purohit and Dhar Another major alternative application of non-fodder and non-fertilizer agricultural residues is biomass power and bagasse cogeneration. The program is encouraged through a conducive policy at the state and central levels. Therefore, the use of a significant proportion of agricultural residues for power generation has to be accounted for when estimating the net biomass pellet potential from agricultural residues.
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Using a specific bagasse consumption level of 1. Using the specific biomass consumption level of 1. For —21 and —31, the area and crop productivity were projected based on the data from —51 to —12 Figs. S1 — S6 as shown in Section S1 of the supplementary section. The gross residue availability is estimated at Mt for — Hiloidhari et al. Gross residue availability from crop production in India. The Forest Survey of India states that the forest cover increased to The total surplus biomass from forest and wastelands will increase in the near future due to the increase in forest cover.
However, a significant amount of forest residues is consumed by the population residing in or near the forest, and the plantation products are used by the timber, paper, and pulp industries. Therefore, we have kept the biomass surplus from forest and wastelands as constant at the level.
Source: IISc and own estimates. The share of renewable including large hydro power plants constituted The installed capacity of coal thermal power plants was Sub-critical pulverized coal PC technology is currently used in most of the coal-based thermal power plants in the country. All newly constructed coal thermal power plants in India are expected to be based on super-critical technology. Coal is required in large quantities for power generation, and India has abundant reserves of this fossil fuel.
However, indigenous coal production has not been able to meet domestic demand, and hence a significant proportion of coal is imported. Whether this number will change in the future depends on the rate at which domestic production grows, as well as the movement of coal prices in the international market. Based on these two factors, it appears that Indian coal imports in the future will not increase in terms of share of total coal consumption.
In the long run, if the cost of biomass pellet-based electricity generation becomes competitive with the cost of coal production, a proportion of the coal imports could be replaced by biomass imports as well. Stringent climate policy requirements could further compel India to start seriously thinking about biomass pellet imports. The associated CO 2 mitigation potential available through the substitution of coal is estimated at and Mt CO 2 eq in —21 and —31 respectively using the baseline of 0. Farmers have traditionally burned excess residues as a means of quick disposal.
An estimated 7—8 million tonnes of rice residue associated with post-monsoon agricultural burning are burned each year in Punjab, India Kumar and Joshi Cusworth et al. Utilization of surplus residues for power generation potentially reduces both air pollution and GHG emissions. Annual biomass pellet production through biomass surplus and associated electricity generation source: own estimates.
These pellets are mainly used for cooking application in the commercial sector. To ensure the success of a BPBP project, the biomass pellet unit should be installed near the project. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission CERC of India, in terms of Regulation 44 of the Renewable Energy Tariff Regulations, had specified the biomass fuel price applicable during —13 CERC and had also specified the fuel price indexation mechanism, in case the developer wished to opt for it, for the remaining years of the control period.
Drying consumes energy in the form of heat, while size reduction, densification, and cooling operations require electric power input. Mani et al. Source: As per telephonic interview with a representative of Nishant Bioenergy Ltd. Using Eq. The unit cost will further increase with the high moisture content of the biomass feedstock, the type of biomass feedstock used cutting of stalky materials , and the long transportation distance from the farm gate to the biomass pellet unit, as shown in Fig.
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The unit cost of biomass pellets is found to be highly sensitive to the price of biomass feedstock and the CUF of the biomass pellet unit, followed by the price of electricity. It is observed that the capital cost, the discount rate, and the useful lifetime of the biomass pellet unit have a rather moderate effect on the unit cost of pellet production.
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Sensitivity analysis for the unit cost of C bp biomass pellet w. The levelized cost of electricity produced through biomass pellets can be obtained as the ratio of the total annualized cost of the biomass power plant to the annualized cost of electricity generation. Use of biomass pellets essentially reduces the cost of the fuel supply chain mechanism due to the uniform size of pellets. Transportation of biomass pellets from the biomass pelletization unit to the BPBP project tacks on additional transportation cost.
The net levelized tariff for biomass power projects other than rice straw- and Juliflora plantation -based projects with air-cooled condenser and traveling grate boiler is higher than the levelized cost of BPBP projects in the major states of India. Industrial and commercial consumers, particularly high-voltage consumers, are charged substantially more than the cost of supply, whereas the agricultural sector and, to a lesser extent, the residential sector, are heavily subsidized.
The CERC tariff for biomass power projects vary across the states depending on the availability of biomass feedstock, the price of biomass feedstock, the technology used for the condenser water-cooled or air-cooled and boiler, etc. It may be noted that the above-mentioned tariff rates are not applicable to rice straw- and Juliflora plantation -based projects. The large-scale use of biomass pellets for power generation could play an important role in stimulating the local economy and in hastening industrial development.
As per our telephonic conversation with a representative of Nishant Bioenergy Ltd. To meet the biomass feedstock requirement on a daily basis, two trucks are needed, with a driver and a loader assigned to each truck. Our preliminary estimates indicate that the biomass pellet production process could generate , full-time employments in biomass pelletization and in the transportation of agricultural and forestry residues if the entire biomass surplus were diverted to the biomass pellets route.
Moreover, the collection and storage of biomass and the manufacturing of biomass pellets are estimated to also create indirect jobs. Additional employment will be generated during the construction of biomass power plants.
This translates to over 6. Trade in biomass pellets has already started and has been driven to a large extent by climate policy concerns. EU political and regulatory policy interventions have incentivized wood pellets as a vehicle to help de-carbonize the energy sector. Nevertheless, this implies that biomass is being adopted on a large-scale in the shape of dedicated commercial plantations across the world.
Not all countries, however, will be biomass suppliers. Land-use modeling within integrated assessment models shows that countries in Latin America will be net exporters of biomass, while many other regions of the world will be producers of bioenergy Chaturvedi et al.
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A stringent climate-control policy will fundamentally change the architecture of the international energy trade. India is not expected to be a significant producer of dedicated bioenergy in the future, not just because of land constraints, but also because of water stress.
Thus, if Indian energy systems also need to shift towards bioenergy in a big way, the country will have to become an importer of bioenergy. Hence, it is important to invest in developing domestic bioenergy resources as much as possible to minimize potential imports, as well as move India towards a low-carbon economy. Our cost analysis shows that the cost of biomass pellet-based electricity production is well within the range of tariff provided by CERC. However, there is one critical variable that could completely change the economics of biomass-based electricity—the transportation cost of biomass.
For this reason, it is, generally, only economically feasible to transport unprocessed biomass for short distances. However, if there is a geographical region that has limited biomass residue and has to still increase the penetration of biomass-based electricity, it makes economic sense to invest only in BPBPs. Price of biomass pellet and unprocessed biomass feedstock at different transportation distance source: own estimates.
The pelletization process resolves some typical problems of biomass fuels: transport and storage costs are minimized, handling is improved, and the volumetric calorific value is increased. Pelletization may not increase the energy density on a mass basis, but it can increase the energy content of the fuel on a volume basis. Hence, for long-distance transport, it makes sense to transport pellets rather than biomass feedstock only.
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Our analysis also shows that the potential of the different states varies in terms of agriculture and forestry residues. For example, Tamil Nadu has limited potential for producing forest and agriculture residue.
The adjoining states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, in contrast, have significant potential. For increasing domestic electricity generation capacity based on biomass, it makes sense for Tamil Nadu to import biomass pellets, as compared to biomass feedstock, from either Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka. This will significantly reduce the cost of feedstock. The same is true for Kerala as well.
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The states thus have to decide whether to invest in the production of biomass pellets based on their own potential for residue generation, or the biomass-based electricity generation target they want to achieve, or the excess residue potential in the adjoining states. Based on the financial analysis undertaken by us, we conclude that the cost of electricity production based on the import of biomass pellets from other states will be higher.
Bioenergy for power generation can be used in two different forms—pelletized and non-pelletized. The non-pelletized form has been used for a long time for co-firing in coal thermal power plants or biomass power plants.