National Mission on Use of Biomass in Coal Based Thermal Power Plants

News: To address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprints of thermal power generation, Ministry of Power has decided to set up a National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants.


  • 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.
  • It will have following objectives:
  • To increase the level of co-firing from present 5% to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon neutral power generation from the thermal power plants.
  • To take up R&D activity in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in the biomass pellets.
  • To facilitate overcoming the constraints in supply chain of bio mass pellets and agro- residue and its transport upto to the power plants.
  • To consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.
  • 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.

What is Biomass?

  • Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity or heat. Examples are wood, energy crops and waste from forests, yards, or farms. Biomass has always been an important energy source for the country considering the benefits it offers.
  • It is renewable, widely available, carbon-neutral and has the potential to provide significant employment in the rural areas. t is also capable of providing firm energy. About 32% of the total primary energy use in the country is still derived from biomass and more than 70% of the country’s population depends upon it for its energy needs.

What is Biomass Cofiring?

  • It refers to the concurrent blending and combustion of biomass materials with other fuels such as natural gas and coal within a boiler, which reduce the use of fossil fuels for energy generation and emissions without significantly increasing costs and infrastructure investments.
  • Biomass cofiring is a promising technology to decrease the use of fossil fuels for energy generation and hence mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Coal and biomass cofiring accounts for the relevant advantages of a relative ease of implementation and an effective reduction of CO2 and other pollutant (SOx, NOx) emissions to the atmosphere.
  • Cofiring biomass with coal may record no loss in total boiler efficiency after adjusting combustion output for the new fuel mixture.