Farm stub­ble fu­els NTPC’s Dadri plant

To Help Delhi, Neigh­bours Breathe Easy

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY - San­[email protected]

New Delhi: In a first of its kind move, state-run NTPC has started us­ing farm stub­ble as fuel at one of the units at its Dadri power plant, a move that is ex­pected to help Delhi and its neigh­bour­hood breathe easy by stop­ping farm­ers from burn­ing crop residue — a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to win­ter smog — and sup­ple­ment­ing farm in­come as well as cre­at­ing ru­ral jobs.

“We (the Modi gov­ern­ment) have done what we have said. It is help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. It is help­ing the farm­ers by giv­ing them ad­di­tional rev­enue. It is de­vel­op­ing an ecosys­tem of ru­ral en­trepreneurs and start-ups,” power min­is­ter R K Singh told TOIon phone from Abu Dhabi, where he is at­tend­ing an in­ter­na­tional re­new­able en­ergy con­fer­ence.

Known as ‘biomass’ co-fir­ing in in­dus­try par­lance, it is pos­si­ble to mix farm residue pel­lets with coal up to 10% of the to­tal fuel used in a power plant with­out af­fect­ing heat­ing ef­fi­ciency or tar­iff. Usu­ally, residue that are least pre­ferred as cat­tle fod­der and burnt by farm­ers are used to make pel­lets.

The power min­istry had an­nounced the step in Novem-

TOXIC AIR: ber 2017 when north In­dia was reel­ing un­der a bad spell of smog pro­duced by crop burn­ing in the en­tire re­gion. “On an av­er­age, one acre of crop­ping yields about two tonnes of stub­ble or straw… NTPC will buy stub­ble at Rs 5,500 per tonne, which will yield an ad­di­tional in­come of ap­prox­i­mately Rs 11,000 per acre for farm­ers,” Singh had said while an­nounc­ing the pol­icy on Novem­ber 16, 2017.

Though de­tails of price or quan­tity be­ing used at Dadri were not avail­able, com­pany sources said NTPC was ex­pand­ing the move to its other power plants as well but it would take some time to es­tab­lish a reg­u­lar sup­ply chain of pel­lets.

NTPC has in­vited EOI (ex- pres­sion of in­ter­est) for sourc­ing pel­lets for its power plants across the coun­try and will hold a work­shop on skilling on the new en­tre­pre­neur­ial av­enue be­fore call­ing for bids. This is ex­pected to en­cour­age col­lec­tion and stor­age of agri­cul­tural residue and spur in­vest­ments in fa­cil­i­ties for man­u­fac­tur­ing pel­lets.

Com­pany sources said ash gen­er­ated from burn­ing of agro residue-based fuel in power plants got ab­sorbed in elec­tro­static pre­cip­i­ta­tors and did not cause air pol­lu­tion. Also, the equiv­a­lent amount of car­bon diox­ide emit­ted from their com­bus­tion was ab­sorbed in the next crop cy­cle by pho­to­syn­the­sis, which did not in­crease the level of car­bon diox­ide in the at­mos­phere.

File photo

A sig­nif­i­cant chunk of farm­ers con­tin­ues to burn farm stub­ble, even though they know it con­trib­utes to Delhi's air pol­lu­tion

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