Recently, the Ministry of Power has decided to set up a National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants.

Important points:

  • The proposed National Mission on biomass will also contribute to the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
  • It would further support the energy transition in the country and our targets to move towards cleaner energy sources.
  • To address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprints of thermal power generation.
  • Increase the level of biomass co-firing from present 5% to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon neutral power generation from the thermal power plants.
  • Biomass co-firing stands for adding biomass as a partial substitute fuel in high efficiency coal boilers.
  • Take up R&D (Research & Development) activity in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in the biomass pellets.
  • Facilitate overcoming the constraints in supply chain of biomass pellets and agro- residue and its transport upto to the power plants.
  • Consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.

Proposed Structure:

  • The Mission would have a Steering Committee headed by the Secretary (Ministry of Power) comprising all stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas , Ministry of New & Renewable Energy etc.
  • National Thermal Power Corporation Limited will play a larger role in providing logistics and infrastructure support.
  • The duration of the proposed National Mission would be a minimum 5 years.
  • Stringent emission standards for coal based thermal power plants have been notified.
  • Compulsory adoption of emissions standards for installing Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of toxic sulphur dioxide.
  • Approved automatic transfer of coal linkage from inefficient power plants to new supercritical plants subject to certain conditions to promote setting up of supercritical units in place of old ones.
  • Thermal power plants within 50 km of sewage treatment facilities will mandatorily use treated sewage water.

Other Initiatives to Reduce Air Pollution:

  1. Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms
  2. UJALA scheme
  3. International Solar Alliance
  4. National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)


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