National Mission on use of Biomass in Coal Based Thermal Power Plants | 27 May 2021

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Power has decided to set up a National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants.

Key Points

  • About:
    • 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.
  • Aim:
  • Objective:
    • Increase the level of biomass co-firing from present 5% to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon neutral power generation from the thermal power plants.
      • Biomass co-firing stands for adding biomass as a partial substitute fuel in high efficiency coal boilers.
    • Take up R&D (Research & Development) activity in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in the biomass pellets.
    • Facilitate overcoming the constraints in supply chain of biomass pellets and agro- residue and its transport upto to the power plants.
    • Consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.
  • Proposed Structure:
    • 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.
  • Duration:
    • The duration of the proposed National Mission would be a minimum 5 years.
  • Initiatives to Reduce Pollution from Coal Power Plants:
    • Stringent emission standards for coal based thermal power plants have been notified.
    • Approved automatic transfer of coal linkage from inefficient power plants to new supercritical plants subject to certain conditions to promote setting up of supercritical units in place of old ones.
    • Thermal power plants within 50 km of sewage treatment facilities will mandatorily use treated sewage water.
  • Other Initiatives to Reduce Air Pollution:


  • About:
    • 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.
  • Benefits:
    • It is renewable, widely available, carbon-neutral and has the potential to provide significant employment in the rural areas.
    • It 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.
  • Biomass power & cogeneration programme:
    • About:
      • Initiated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
      • For efficient utilization of biomass, bagasse based cogeneration in sugar mills and biomass power generation have been taken up under the programme.
      • Biomass materials used for power generation include Rice husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut shells, soya husk, de-oiled cakes, coffee waste, jute wastes, groundnut shells, saw dust etc.
    • Objective:
      • Promoting technologies for optimum use of the country's biomass resources for grid power generation.

Source: PIB