Approximately 80,525 MT of biomass has been co-fired across 35 thermal power plants in India with an aggregate capacity of 55,335 MW up until July 24, 2022. In less than a year, the number of plants co-firing biomass has expanded to four times. In addition to the 14 NTPC owned plants, there are 21 other power plants from the public and private sectors. All of these collectively have contributed to a 0.1 million MT reduction in the carbon dioxide footprint by thermal power generation. Only seven power plants in the country used co-fired biomass pellets as of the end of financial year 2020-21.
The National Mission on Use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants, now known as SAMARTH, was established by the Ministry of Power with the purpose of addressing the challenges of stubble burning to generate green power and provide opportunities for farmers and small business owners to generate revenue. In order to enable a smooth transition of thermal power plants into the biomass co-firing regime, SAMARTH has been taking a lead in discovering solutions to the challenges being encountered.
Recently in May 2022, NTPC issued a request for proposals to provide an integrated platform for Indian startups that could help in the development of a biomass ecosystem in the country. The platform will be put in shape by NETRA, the research and development wing of NTPC, for production of the torrefied biomass pellets that are well-suited for decentralised small-scale users.