to play an important role both in domestic and industrial sector
in India as it is an agriculture based country.
The share of fuelwood in fuel consumption
shows declining trends mainly due to the
increasing usage of fossil fuels for economic development during
the last few year. However, the actual usage in absolute term has
increased considerably. Fuelwood fired traditional cooking
systems are generally used for large scale cooking, specially in
community kitchens such as in marriage halls, schools, hostels,
temples, etc. Huge quantities of fuelwood is being used in traditional
ovens which normally operate with very low thermal efficiency of
5-15%. This results in tremendous wastage and is one of the key
reasons of rapid deforestation.
of gasifier based silk reeling oven
The continuously rising prices of the fossil
fuels and their unreliable availability makes
it neccessary to shift to biomass fuel. This has resulted
in over dependency on biomass fuels, though biomass is considered
to be inferior fuel in its present form. This situation calls for
development of a biomass based, energy efficient system with better
environmental acceptability, economic viability, and good
process control. Biomass gasifier system is ideal for such applications
as it can offer all these advantage.
Biomass fuels play an important role in the Indian economy, as they
are the main source of energy to a large number of small, rural,
and cottage industries apart from majority of rural households.
A majority of these enterprises belongs to the unorganized sector
and, hence, information and data on these industries are scarce.
These industries provide employment to millions of people and form
a very important part of the rural economy. The biomass-consuming
industries can be divided into two categories, traditional industries
and new or potential industries.
Traditional biomass-based industries are
essentially rural cottage and small-scale industries. These industries
depend predominantly on biomass fuels such as wood, agricultural
residues, and animal dung because it is cheap and its supply is
assured. Biomass energy is used in these industries for direct heating
(firing of bricks, lime), indirect firing (drying, baking), boiling,
steam raising, and distillation.
New or potential biomass-based industries
include many medium-and small-sized enterprises that currently use
fossil fuels and are willing to switch over, partially or fully,
to biomass fuels available locally at lower prices. Examples of
these industries include textile mills, brick kilns, mini cement
plants, and lime kilns.
TERI has been involved in several projects
to improve thermal efficiency of biomass used in several of these
industries both under TERI-SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and
Cooperation) partnership projects as well other projects sponsored
by various government and private agencies.
Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is supporting TERI in a
project to promote biomass gasifiers for thermal applications among
small-scale guar gum extraction units in Jodhpur. The project will
focus its activities on (1) creating awareness among entrepreneurs
in the Jodhpur guar gum cluster about the benefits offered by biomass
gasifier systems, and (2) developing and demonstrating three biomass
gasifierbased heating systems to substitute the existing diesel-based
Guar gum is produced by drying, roasting, de-husking, and polishing
guar seeds to get refined guar ‘splits’, which are pulverized
into various mesh sizes for use in different industries such as
food processing, oil well drilling, and explosives. Most of the
guar gum units in Jodhpur use diesel, furnace oil or liquefied petroleum
gas (LPG) for heating applications in the extraction process. In
the face of increasing fossil fuel prices, and given the ready availability
of firewood at relatively low prices, biomass gasification technology
offers an attractive option for units in Jodhpur to reduce input
costs and increase profits. A working estimate is that one litre
of diesel can be replaced by four kilograms of firewood. With diesel
costing around 35 rupees per litre and firewood barely Rs 1.50 per
kg, there is huge potential for cost savings in guar gum extraction
through the use of suitable biomass gasifier systems.
On 5 May 2010, the project organized an ‘inception’
workshop in Jodhpur to spread awareness among cluster stakeholders
on the potential benefits offered by biomass gasification technology
and on the aims and proposed activities of the project. The event
was attended by around 35 participants including guar gum entrepreneurs,
office bearers of the Marudhara Industries Association (the local
other industry representatives from the cluster, and gasifier manufacturers.
Mr Suman Kumar elaborated on PCRA’s initiatives in promoting
energy efficiency and environment-friendly technologies in industrial
clusters in Rajasthan. He placed the project in the context of the
growing scarcity and rising prices of fossil fuels in India and
the international market, which makes it important as well as beneficial
for industries to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources
such as biomass. Mr Sunil Dhingra and Mr N K Ram of TERI provided
an outline of biomass gasification technology, cited TERI’s
success in developing and promoting biomass gasifier systems for
different thermal applications in a number of MSME clusters across
the country, and explained how biomass gasifier-based systems could
gum units in terms of reduced fuel costs and increased profitability.
The participants were also shown a short video on biomass gasifiers.
Mr Kiran Desai of JNS Technologies, a veteran in the guar gum industry,
shared his knowledge and experience of the guar gum production process.
He stressed the importance of improving process efficiency and observed
that biomass gasifier technology could bring great benefits.
A highlight of the event was a presentation by Mr Pradeep Singhvi,
a bakery owner from the cluster who has been using a biomass gasifier
system for two years. In a highly interactive session, he described
how switching over from fossil fuel-based heating to a biomass gasifier
system has helped him reduce
operating costs and improve earnings. As someone who has actually
used and benefited from a biomass gasifier system, Mr Singhvi’s
observations struck a powerful chord with the participants.
At the end of the workshop, the entrepreneurs filled out ‘expression
of interest’ (EOI) forms, which have helped identify three
units in which biomass gasifier systems will be set up and demonstrated
under the project.
widely used as a fuel in rural areas and in many industries (food
processing, drying, and so on). However, the traditional woodburning
systems show poor thermal efficiency. Also, many industries use
systems based on fossil fuels such as diesel and furnace oil, which
are becoming increasingly costly, and therefore, eating into profits.
We established Phoenix Products in Belgaum, Karnataka in 1989 with
the aim to develop and promote biomass-based energy efficient systems
that would help replace the existing low efficiency systems, particularly
those based on fossil fuels, reduce fuel consumption and fuel expenditure,
and offer the users attractive returns on their investment.
receives ‘Best Tiny Industry Award’
Today, Phoenix Products has become a leading manufacturer and exporter
of biomassbased energy efficient devices. In 1993, we received the
award of ‘BestTiny Industries’ from the Directorate
of Industries and Commerce, Karnataka, presented by the then Chief
Minister of Karnataka, Mr Veerappa Moily. We have developed a sound
infrastructural base—a sophisticated manufacturing unit, an
advanced quality control unit, a hi-tech R&D facility, and above
all, a highly skilled workforce with a commitment to excellence.
This enables us to develop and produce world class products for
a growing Indian and international market. Our biomass-based products
include insulated water heaters (hot water boilers), cook stoves,
dryers, and biomass gasifiers for various thermal requirements.
Phoenix Products has been associated with TERI since 2007, and
is manufacturing and installing TERI-design biomass gasifiers for
a number of industries including food processing units (e.g. Shankar
Guda’s Puffed Rice Factory) and non-ferrous industries (e.g.
SPM Extrusions Pvt Ltd for aluminium melting and billet heating).
We have also participated in a number of awareness generation programmes
organized by TERI to promote biomass gasifiers, for instance, in
Govindram Seksaria Science College, Belgaum (July 2008), BVB College
of Engineering and Technology, Hubli (November 2008), and Centre
for Entrepreneurship Development of Karnataka, Dharwad (January
2009). In November 2009, Phoenix Products developed and installed
a biomass gasifier at Ashok Iron Works Pvt Ltd., a foundry unit
in Belgaum, for sand drying applications.
The foundry was earlier consuming close to 20 kg LPG per hour,
at an estimated cost of Rs 800 /hour for drying sand. With the installation
of the biomass gasifier, the foundry consumes around 80 kg firewood
per hour at an estimated cost of Rs 240 /hour) for the same purpose.
Thus, the foundry is saving around Rs 560 per hour or Rs 8960 per
16-hour day! This gives a payback period of less than 12 months
on the cost of the gasifier.
Till now, Phoenix Products has developed and installed a total
of 12 biomass gasifiers for thermal applications in various industries
in Belgaum. The major attractions of the biomass gasifiers are low
fuel costs, easy availability of fuel, no pollution, high combustion
efficiency, and high output rate. Following the installation of
biomass gasifiers, our clients are able to save around 40%–70%
of their fuel costs.