gasifier based 100% gas engine based power plant being tested
at Gual Pahari before dispatching to field site
Provision of electricity in the remote rural
areas has emerged as a major development priority in India. There
are more than 96 000 unelectrified villages and less than 45%
of 138 million households in 583 000 villages use electricity
for lighting. The economies of electrification of remote rural areas
based on grid extension are generally unfavourable, mainly due to
high costs involved in grid extension and higher grid losses coupled
with small loads and low tariffs.
Out of these unelectrified villages, Government
of India has identified 25 000 villages, as remote and difficult
to access. For these unelectrifiable villages, decentralized power
generation systems are desirable. Electricity needs of these villages
are generally in the range of 5-25 kW depending upon the size of
the villages. It has been proposed that these villages should be
electrified through renewable energy sources (e.g. biomass, small
hydro, solar PV, etc.).
Among various renewable energy sources, solar
PV is technically mature but the initial costs are very high. Small
hydro systems are comparatively cheaper, but these are site specific
and the power generating capacity fluctuates seasonally. In this
scenario, small-decentralized biomass gasification based power plants
emerge as an attractive option for rural electrification provided
biomass could be managed locally in a sustainable manner.
Till now, in India, dual fuel engine gensets
have been used for producing electricity and utilizing producer
gas (produced through gasification) for small-scale decentralized
power generation. In a dual fuel system, diesel is required for
pilot ignition. Up to 70% of the diesel required can be replaced
with producer gas. Due to the high cost of diesel and the problems
faced for ensuring its continuous supply to remote villages, the
dual fuel system has limited use in rural electrification.
TERI, GV (Gram Vikas) and SDC (Swiss Agency
for Development and Cooperation) had been exploring possibilities
of application of biomass gasification technology for rural end-uses.
A collaborative project “LIBERA” (Livelihood Improvement
through Biomass Energy in Rural Areas) was initiated. The main theme
of LIBERA was to bring biomass back on center stage as a fuel to
boost rural growth and to achieve sustainable development in energy
starved remote rural areas. The technology selected here is 100%
producer gas engine based biomass gasifier power plant. The aim
is to provide decentralized electricity by harnessing locally available
biomass in a sustainable manner. The main features of LIBERA concept
are shown in Figure 1.
| LIBERA (Livelihood Improvement through
Biomass Energy in Rural Areas) framework
The project not only
aimed at providing electricity for meeting basic requirements for
lighting and drinking water, but also to demonstrate a model of
livelihood improvement in remote areas through sustainable exploitation
of biomass as energy source. The project proposed sustainable biomass
supply through community owned energy plantations.
TERI’s role was to provide technical
assistance to GV in providing technological solution/option/tool
in the form of biomass gasifier-based power generation system, while
implementing the LIBERA concept. The first requirement was to develop
a more rugged and reliable system through long duration performance
monitoring before taking it to GV for field-testing.
Therefore, it was decided that the proposed
project would be divided into different phases.
Develop and test
small 100% gas based power gasifier system for its long duration
performance and reliability
GV and technology transfer for promotion in rural areas of India
back-up support to field installations and evolving technological
packages for large-scale promotion of small capacity gasifier-based
power generating systems through fine-tuning