Biomass Energy in India is an untapped energy giant
What is Biomass energy?
Biomass energy is a form of renewable energy that is derived from organic materials such as agricultural residues, forest, and wood wastes, animal manure, municipal solid waste, etc. Biomass can be used to produce heat, electricity, biogas, biofuels, and other useful products. Biomass energy has several advantages over fossil fuels, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security, creating rural employment, and utilizing waste resources. In this article, we will try to understand biomass energy in India and its overall potential.
What is the government of India doing to promote Biomass Energy in India?
The Indian government has been promoting the development of biomass energy through various policies and programs. The MNRE has set a target of 10 GW of biomass power and cogeneration by 2022, which has already been achieved with the present installed capacity of 10.17 GW. The MNRE has also supported the installation of biomass gasifiers, biogas plants, and waste-to-energy projects for various applications. The government has also provided financial incentives, such as capital subsidies, interest subsidies, tax benefits, feed-in tariffs, etc., for biomass energy projects.
Biomass energy in the context of the Indian market:
India has a large potential for biomass energy, as it is an agrarian country with abundant biomass resources. According to a recent study by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the current availability of biomass in India is estimated at 750 million metric tonnes per year. The study indicated estimated surplus biomass availability at about 230 million metric tonnes per annum covering agricultural residues corresponding to a potential of about 28 GW. This apart, about 14 GW of additional power could be generated through bagasse-based cogeneration in the country’s 550 sugar mills.
The market of biomass energy in India is expected to grow further in the future, as the demand for clean and reliable energy increases. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), bioenergy use in industry in India will increase from supplying a little over 11 EJ (7% of energy use) in 2022 to more than 17 EJ (10%) in 20303. The IEA also projects that biofuel demand in India will grow by 8% annually from 2022 to 20243. The main drivers for this growth are energy security concerns, environmental benefits, rural development opportunities, and technological innovations.
However, there are some challenges and barriers that need to be addressed. These include the lack of adequate supply chain infrastructure, the high cost and low efficiency of conversion technologies, the competition with other uses of biomass, the social and environmental impacts of biomass harvesting and utilization, the policy uncertainty and inconsistency, and the lack of awareness and capacity building among stakeholders.
To address these challenges and barriers, some possible measures are:
1) Develop integrated biomass resource assessment and mapping tools to identify the potential and availability of biomass resources across regions and sectors.
2) Establishing effective biomass collection, storage, transportation, and distribution systems to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of biomass feedstocks.
3) Promoting research and development on advanced biomass conversion technologies that can improve the performance, quality, and diversity of bioenergy products.
4) Implementing sustainable biomass management practices that can ensure the optimal use of biomass resources without compromising food security, biodiversity, soil health, water quality, etc.
5) and streamlining the policy framework and regulatory mechanisms that can provide clear and consistent signals and incentives for biomass energy development.
6) awareness and capacity building among various stakeholders, such as farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, consumers, policymakers, etc., on the benefits and opportunities of biomass energy.
The major drivers of growth in India’s biomass market include:
1. Surplus biomass availability: The surplus biomass availability, especially from the agriculture sector, is one of the key drivers that is fueling market growth. Among all agriculture-intensive states in India, companies in Uttar Pradesh are utilizing their biomass up to its full potential, due to the abundance of sugarcane industries
2. Increased availability of co-generation power plants: The India biomass market is flourishing due to the increased availability of co-generation power plants in North Indian states, where the market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of ~8% during the forecast period
3. Government initiatives: The Indian government has taken several initiatives to promote the use of biomass energy, which is expected to drive the growth of the biomass market in India.
4.Growing installed capacity: The installed capacity for biomass production in India has grown at a CAGR of 4% reaching 10 GW in FY22. The biomass power installed capacity stood at 10,205.61 MW in FY 2022, which was 8,295.78 MW in FY 2017, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.76% during the FY 2017 – FY 2022 period.
5. Thermochemical segment dominance: The thermochemical segment dominates the Indian biomass market, which is expected to continue until 2029.
Overall, the biomass market in India is expected to reach Rs 32,000 crore by FY 2030–31 due to government initiatives and growing demand.