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Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research Vol. 62, January-February 2003, pp 106-123

Biofuels of India

Tata Energy Research Institute, Darbari Seth Block, Habitat Place, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110 003

Biofuels play an important role in meeting energy requirements in the world and its position in the context of developing countries like India is rather vital. The present paper attempts to provide an overview of the resource base, conversion technologies, and emerging end uses and research needs in the overall context in India. Authors also observe that the efforts made in India in modern biomass utilization in the last two decades have not succeeded with the desired level of achievements. Though several alternative techniques/technologies for efficient use of biofuels have been developed, however, they are yet to transform into acceptable package of product with the mechanisms to disseminate them through manufacturer and market network to the end users.

1.0 Introduction

Biomass was the chief source of fuel in the pre-industrial revolution world and is still quite important in any developing countries, such as India. Worldwide, photosynthetic activity is estimated to result in energy amounting to approximately 3000 billion GJ annually in the form of biomass of which about 10 per cent of it is used for animal feed, fertilizer, fuel or feedstock (Alexandrov et al. 1999). The remainder serves the essential purpose of moderating climate, recycling water and essential nutrients, and performs a host of other ecosystem functions, which are vital to human well being.

Although biofuels account for only 12 per cent of the global energy requirements in terms of total energy content, they cater to the largest section of energy users. It is estimated that about two-thirds of households in the developing countries are still dependent on biofuels for cooking and heating, and many of these households use open fires or poor quality stoves (Capsule Report Jan’ 1999).

The 1973, oil crisis and the more recent global climate change concerns brought into focus sharply the post-industrial revolution conflict between economic development and energy sustainability. It has been shown again and again that the best way of resolving this conflict is by promoting energy conservation and renewable energy utilization. The importance of biomass as a renewable energy resource, especially in

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its prevalent form of stored chemical energy, as opposed to solar and wind energy which fluctuate widely, has increased in recent years. This can be observed not only in developing countries like India, but also in industrially developed countries, such as Netherlands, Germany, Finland and Sweden. The focus on biofuels has increased since it is net zero contributor to carbon dioxide. In addition, the global obligations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have renewed interest in the biofuels. The present paper attempts to provide an overview of the resource base, conversion technologies, and emerging end uses and research needs in the overall context of modern biomass utilization in India.

2.0 Biomass in India: Resource Base, End Use Efficiency and Emission Characteristics

Most of the developing countries depend heavily on biomass for their energy needs and India is no exception. An estimated 220 mt of firewood is used for cooking in rural areas and about 160 mt of ‘non-fodder’ agricultural residues every year in the country. In general, firewood consumption would show a steady increasing trend (Ravindranath and Hall, 1995). Questions of sustainability of such high consumption levels had been raised in the past, but it appears that most firewood comes from a variety of local trees and shrubs, chiefly Prosopis juliflora (locally known as ‘Jali’), grown on private land, community lands, roadsides and wastelands. Though deforestation due to high dependency on firewood for cooking is of concern



in select areas in the country, there is not much evidence to suggest that firewood use is contributing significantly to forest loss at the national level. In fact, satellite data shows that forest cover has increased marginally in recent yeas, probably due to increased regulation, better forest management and afforestation programmes such as Joint Forest Management. Thus the current solid fuel resource stands at about 380 million t/y. In comparison, the coal production is about 270 mt and lignite production is 19.5 mt, adding up to about 290 mt of solid fossil fuel production per annum. Considering that the calorific values of several biomass residues are comparable to those of high-ash coals, produced predominantly in India, it can be said that the solid biofuel resource is at least as big as the solid fossil fuel resource.

Another bio-resource in India is cattle dung. Nearly 600 mt of wet dung is produced annually from a livestock population of about 288 m (cattle and buffaloe) (TEDDY 2000/2001). Table 1 shows that the livestock population is also growing, though the rate of growth is low. This means that the wet dung would be available as a sustainable resource. If all this dung can be converted into biogas, the gas

Table 1- Growth of cattle and buffaloes (million)




























Yearbook) 2000/2001

production would be 36 bcM/y. If organic wastes such as sewage, municipal solid waste, and distilleries can also be taken as feedstock for gas production the total biogas potential would be 36.8bcM/y. In comparison, 19.3 billion m 3 of natural gas and 3.42 mt of LPG were consumed in 1994-95. In terms of heat energy, this amounts to 0.975 exa joules (1 EJ = 10 18 J)/y, whereas the biogas production potential is 0.693 EJ/y. Thus the biogas potential, at nearly 70 per cent of the current gaseous fossil fuel consumption levels, is too large to be ignored. Biomethanation would also produce about 96 mt of manure. In comparison, the chemical fertilizer consumption in 1997-98 was 16.4 mt. The fossil fuel and bio-resource base of India is summarized in Table 2.

One major drawback of biofuel use is that these fuels are used in traditional stoves and furnaces, which are inherently inefficient. It is well known that conventional mud stoves operate with thermal efficiencies of the order of 10 per cent or less. Nearly 40 per cent of 15 m unorganized enterprises consume biofuels in India (Sarvekshana, 1995) [Unorganized

enterprises are those which are not registered under the Small

Industries Development Organization of India]. Though

considerable number of registered small industries also consumes biofuels, accurate information is not available on the number of such enterprises and the quantum of fuels consumed. Survey of some biomass using enterprises (Kishore & Rastogi, 1987; Mande et al., 1999; Mande et al., 2000) and available data show that the end use efficiencies of devices used in such enterprises is also quite low. An estimated 20 mt of biomass is used in traditional rural enterprises (Kishore, 1999). A partial list of biomass using enterprises is given in Table 3.

Table 2 - Fossil fuels and Bio-resource base of India

Conventional Fuels


Coal Production (1995-96)

270.0 mt

Fuel wood used (1994-95)

220 mt

Lignite Production (1994-95)

19.5 mt

Crop residue production (1994-95)

160 mt

Total solid fuels

289.5 mt


380.0 mt

Natural gas (1994-95)

19.30 bm 3

Biogas from cattle dung (potential)

36.23 bm 3

LPG Produced (1994-95)

2.80 mt

Biogas from Sewage (potential)

0.29 bm 3

LPG imported

0.62 mt

Biogas from MSW (potential)

0.24 bm 3


Biogas from other wastes (potential)

0.05 bm 3


36.8 bm 3

Total gas energy

0.975 EJ/yr (1 EJ= 10 18 J)

Total gas energy (ultimate potential)

0.693 EJ/yr EJ= 10 18 J)

Source: V V N Kishore, Lecture notes on biogas technology, prepared for Renewable Energy Updating Workshop for FMNES staff, Pondicherry, June 1997



Thus, though the bioresource base of India is substantial, its contribution to useful energy is low. An indirect consequence of the low energy use efficiency is that the carbon emissions would be high. [Useful energy is

the energy that is ultimately used for the end application. For example, in water heating the heat content of hotwater is the useful

energy while the heat content in the fuel that was fed is the input

energy]. The ratios of carbon content to calorific value of several fuels including biofuels and bioderived fuels are shown in Figure 1(a) and it is apparent that, except for hydrogen rich fuels like natural gas, the carbon emitting potential of all fuels

Table 3 - Biomass using industries/enterprises in India


Specific fuelwood consumption

Total firewood consumption per annum- estimated

Halwai (khoya making etc.) Distilleries Lime making Surkhi Khandsari units Brick making Roof tile making Potteries Extraction of animal tallows Beedi manufacture Coconut oil production Rice par-boiling Hotels, hostels etc. Preparation of plaster of Paris Charcoal making Tyre retreading Soap manufacture Paper and paper board products Rubber sheet smoking Ceramic industry Refractories Bakeries Vanaspati ghee Foundries Fabric printing of sarees and cloth Road tarring Fish smoking Tobacco leaf curing*

(approximate) - - 0.34 kg/kg limestone 0.1 0.1 kg 0.1 kg/ kg dry clay - 8-10 kg for 100 bricks - 0.5-1.5 kg/kg final product 6 kg/kg tallow - 0.075 kg/kg oil 0.1 kg/kg raw paddy - Not known 4 kg/kg charcoal Not known 250-300 kg/batch of 400-500 kg Not known 1 kg (per kg fresh latex) - - 0.7 kg/kg of output 0.67 kg/kg ghee - 0.2 kg/m of cloth 23 ton/km - 4-10 kg/kg cured tobacco

(number of units) Not known - Not known Not known - Not known - Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known Not known - - Not known 0.63 mt 45,000 t 1.72 mt 370,000 t 20,000 t 4,38,000 t/y (43,000 tobacco barns in Karnataka State, Over

Tea drying

1.0 kg/kg dry tea

60,000 units in Andhra Pradesh) 0.25 mt annually

Cardamom curing


75,000 t/y

Silk reeling

17-25 kg/kg silk yarn

220,000 tons annually (25000 cottage/filature units and

Silk dyeing

3 – 4 kg/kg of silk processed

33,000 charka reeling units)

Cotton dyeing

1 kg/kg of material processed

(1000 cotton processing units in Tiruppur cluster, numbers in other places is not available)

Puffed rice making

0.75 kg/kg of paddy processed

120,000 tons of paddy husk annually in Karnataka state

Lead recycling cemations

300 kg/body

alone (5,500 in Karnataka) Approximately 1.7 mt

Source: FAO field document no. 18 and Indian wood and biomass energy development project, project document submitted by TERI to FAO, Surveys conducted by TERI, September 1994


Numbers in the paranthesis are number of units * firewood is used predominantly in barns in Karnataka, while in Andhra Pradesh, Coal is being used predominantly Most of the above industries are prevalent in all parts/ states in India. But, the estimates in some cases are available only in some states



109 KISHORE & SRINIVAS: BIOFUELS OF INDIA is comparable. The ratios of carbon emissions per unit

is comparable. The ratios of carbon emissions per unit of ‘useful energy’, which take into account the device

efficiency [Device efficiency is a part of the overall efficiency of a product. For example, the device efficiency of a cookstove does depend on the type of vessel used. In such case, the device efficiency refers to the efficiency of the vessel that is transferring the heat to the contents in the vessel], are shown in Figure

1(b) and it is obvious that traditionally used biofuels emit nearly ten-times more carbon into the atmosphere per unit of useful energy.

One might argue, since biofuels do not contribute to ‘net’ carbon emissions the issue of end use energy efficiency is not very important. But considering the fact that biomass is probably harvested unsustainably in some areas of the country and that the national forest cover is substantially lower than the desired level, more efficient utilization of biomass will definitely enhance the ‘sink’ effect of forests. Seen

from this angle, biofuel conservation should get at least as much importance as afforestation.

A second issue related to biomass combustion in traditional devices is concerned with products of incomplete combustion (PIC), chiefly carbon monoxide, methane, total non-methane organic compounds (TNMOC) and N 2 O. These greenhouse gases have higher global warming potentials (GWPs) and it has been shown that their CO 2 equivalent contribution is nearly the same as the actual CO 2 emitted (Hayes and Smith, 1994). Results of a study conducted for 28 stove-fuel combinations in India (Smith et al., 2000) clearly establish that the currently practiced biomass cycles are not GHG neutral. In fact the study highlights the win-win situation achievable by promoting use of ‘modern’ biofuels like biogas and producer gas.

3.0 Biomass Conversion Technologies and

Processes An overview of current status of conversion of biomass into useful energy might involve one or more of the following processes:


Physical processes, such as drying, size reduction, and agglomeration (briquetting, pelletisation)


Thermochemical processes, such as direct

combustion, pyrolysis and gasification (iii)Biochemical processes such as fermentation, and biomethanation.

3.1 Physical Processes

Physical processes are more or less pre- processes. For example, drying and size reduction are important pre-requisites for biomass briquetting and for gasification. The preparation of dung cakes by mixing dung and agro-residues followed by sun drying is an age-old process. Utilization of dung cakes for cooking has two disadvantages: First the fertilizer value of dung is lost and secondly the efficiency of cooking devices (such as Hara, used extensively for simmering of milk in North India) is among the lowest. Also, the burning of dung cakes causes the highest emissions among the biofuels (Smith et al., 2000). Some attempts have been made to replace dung cakes with briquettes of agro residues, which will be discussed subsequently.

Briquetting of biomass is getting established as an enterprise in India. The growth of briquetting plants in recent years is encouraging. However, biomass



briquetting is still not well understood in a scientific sense and is thus a promising area of R&D. This will also be discussed subsequently.

3.2 Thermochemical Processes

Thermochemical processes can be broadly classified as combustion, gasification and pyrolysis, depending on the air-fuel ratio, which is highest for combustion and lowest for pyrolysis. Each of the three thermochemical processes, development and conclusions in the Indian context are explained subsequently:

Cookstoves constitute the largest number of combustion devices for biomass, and there is a large variation in traditional stoves. Improving the thermal efficiency of cookstoves and reducing the emissions had been a major concern since the past two decades. The national programme of improved chulhas (NPIC), which was launched in 1985 by MNES, evokes a somewhat mixed response concerning its success

mainly because the benefits are not easily quantifiable.


recent review of the projected and realistic benefits


NPIC is provided by Kishore and Ramana (2001). It


increasingly being felt that improved chulhas are

liked mainly because of their smoke removing capability rather than fuel saving. Though thermal efficiency figures of up to 45 per cent have been reported in laboratory studies (Mukunda et al. 1988) improved cook stoves seldom gave consistently high fuel saving in the field. Cookstoves generally have lower combustion efficiencies and high heat losses, especially through flue gases. Scientists have generally adopted following strategies: (i) Improves combustion by providing a grate, (ii) Reduces flue gas loss by control of combustion air, and (iii) Increases heat transfer by providing more surface (increase the number of pots). Some designs have concentrated on increasing the temperature of fire zone by providing insulation, thereby trying to increase radiative and convective heat transfer to the pot. The

control of combustion air is probably the trickiest affair. As all cookstoves operate on natural draft, and as sufficient opening has to be given for mending the fire and feeding the fuel sticks, the only way to reduce the uncontrolled draft is to provide resistance in the flow path of flue gases. The problem with this strategy is that

it will work best for a particular value of burning rate,

vessel dimension, etc. (fixed design point) and will fare poorly at off-design operation. As cookstoves can

seldom be operated at a fixed design point, it is quite difficult to get consistently high performance at all power levels. To design a solid-fuel burning stove with: (i) High turn down ratio (ratio of maximum and minimum burning rates) (ii) High degree of control of air and (iii) High efficiency throughout the range of power levels; without relying excessively on increasing the heat transfer area and restricting the size and shape of the fuel, it is an engineering challenge. An early realization of this fact would help in shaping future programmes aimed at conserving firewood.

Improving the efficiency of larger biomass burning systems is far more feasible. Thus, improving the power generation capacity of existing bagasse- burning generation plants in sugar mills by incorporating high-pressure boilers, was found to be quite feasible.

Consequently, the bagasse cogeneration programme of MNES has been quite successful. Power generation from biomass, using fluidized bed boilers for rice husk, e.g., has also been reasonably successful. The total installed capacity of power generation based on biomass combustion is about 34 MW at present (MNES Annual Report 1999-2000). The potential power generation capacity, however, is estimated to be 17,000 MW.

Biomass gasification is a process that produces a mixture of CO, H 2 and methane, CO 2 and N 2 (called ‘producer gas’) through a combination of thermochemical reactions including the reduction reaction (CO 2 + C 2CO), shift reaction (CO + H 2 O CO 2 + H 2 ), the methanation reaction (C + 2H 2 CH 4 ), and the water gas reaction (C + H 2 O CO + H 2 ). The producer gas has been classified as low btu gas (calorific value is not generally constraint for designing highly efficient combustion devices or for using the gas in IC engines). Thermal efficiencies of up to 50 per cent (higher if waste heat recovery is done) have been achieved in producer gas burning equipment. As the adiabatic flame temperature, of producer gas is about 1200ºC, it is generally thought that it is not suitable for process heat applications involving high temperatures such as brick and tile manufacturing, steel re-rolling, lime boilers But combustion of pre-mixed gases with pre-heated air can produce flame temperatures in excess of 1700ºC. Similarly, power conversion efficiencies comparable to diesel or petrol engines have been obtained in producer gas engines



without much derating with better control of combustion attainable for gaseous fuels. It is thus possible to achieve high thermal efficiencies and low emissions, thereby making producer gas comparable with petroleum fuels such as furnace oil, LDO and LPG. The producer gas route of utilizing biomass is gaining importance, especially for process heat requirement of small enterprises and for decentralized power generation. These emerging applications are discussed in section 4. The programmes of MNES aimed at promotion of gasifiers, however, seem to have achieved only a limited success. A programme launched in the late eighties to promote gasifier-based irrigation pumping systems under a heavily subsidized scheme did not take off. Similarly, it was found in a survey at a state level that majority of gasifier installations were not in use (TERI Report 1999). Nevertheless, interest in biomass gasification, especially at the individual entrepreneur level, is picking up in the recent years.

A major limitation of gasifier promotion in India, is that the designs, which have been developed so far, use only firewood. Though some manufacturers claim to have developed gasifiers operating on rice husk, etc., there is no evidence to suggest that the systems are operating consistently for long periods and without major operation problems such as water pollution due to cleaning of raw gas. All R&D efforts to develop gasifiers with multifuel capability and for powdery biomass gasification have not yet yielded the desired results. The third major thermochemical process, pyrolysis, mainly consists of heating biomass to high temperatures with a limited supply of air, primarily to initiate combustion, and to maintain temperatures required for pyrolysis. For most biomass materials, pyrolysis occurs between 400 to 500ºC (biomass characterization, IIT, Delhi). The most extensive application of wood pyrolysis is charcoal making. The use of charcoal for applications such as institutional cooking, cloth ironing, CO 2 manufacture, beedi processing, lead recovery from used batteries, smithy, silk yarn re-reeling appears to be quite extensive, but not well documented. There are over 400,000 unorganized enterprises consuming charcoal for meeting their energy needs in India (Sarvekshana, 1990). The most commonly used charcoal producing methods in the developing countries are simple pit kilns and woodpiles covered with earth or vegetation (Vimal

& Tyagi, 1988). Fairly large chunks of wood are required and carbonization takes from days to-weeks depending on the size of the pile. Typically, 8 to 12 t of wood is required to produce 1 t of charcoal, using covered-pile methods. Since charcoal has heat content roughly double that of air-dry wood on a weight basis (30 GJ/t as opposed to 15 GJ/t for air dry wood), the energy efficiency of charcoal production using traditional methods is in the range of 17 to 29 per cent (Hall et al., 1992). As large chunks of wood are used for charcoal production (as against twigs and branches for cooking), and as these come only by clean felling of trees, one has reasons to assume that almost all the wood going for charcoal making is harvested unsustainably, resulting in thinning of forest cover. The marketing networks for charcoal also seem to have been well established. Hence, it is highly desirable to develop: (i) Charcoal kilns with high efficiency and (ii) Charcoal substitution materials (such as char briquettes from agro or forest residues). Improvements in conversion efficiency can be achieved using more sophisticated kilns made by brick, concrete or metal. Portable steel kilns, e.g., are operational in several African countries. In India also, the Institute of Engineering and Rural Technology (IERT), Allahabad, has designed a portable metal kiln (Vimal & Tyagi, 1988) for charcoal production, but it does not seem to have been commercialized. Several large and more sophisticated devices have also been built. These include various continuous kilns with retorts, which collect the liquid products and recycle the gaseous components. Most of them require fairly small-sized feed material but are useful for producing charcoal from waste, such as saw dust and bark. Roughly 60 per cent of the energy in the feed is retained (Bungay, 1991). These plants, however, cost several million dollars to build, and are probably not appropriate in Indian conditions. A comparison of the efficiency, cost and lifetime of some of the main types of charcoal making systems is given by Sinha & Kishore (1991).

TERI (1992), has reported use of a downdraft gasifier with a grate-shaking mechanism to produce charcoal continuously, but the technique has not been developed further. A recent innovation is the reverse- downdraft gasifier to produce both charcoal and gas, which seems to have promise for rural enterprises. A process for production of charcoal-like material, called PARU fuel, had been developed by IIT, Delhi and released for commercialization, but seems to have failed as an enterprise. There were some attempts to



produce activated char from biomass, which can fetch a high price, but these have not been translated into commercial ventures. Process to produce ‘pyrolysis- oils’ or liquid fuels from biomass are also available (e.g. in Canada), but these are yet to be commercialized on a large scale. Incineration is also a variant process of pyrolysis, and has been tried in the past for producing power from municipal solid wastes in Delhi. However, this plant never seems to have worked satisfactorily and has been subject of considerable inter-governmental litigation. Surprisingly, there had been very little discussion on the scientific and technological merits or otherwise of the application of incineration process for treating municipal solid wastes.

3.3 Biochemical Processes

Biochemical processes involve the use of microbes and biochemical techniques to produce liquid or gaseous products (fuels in the context of this paper) from organic matter. One of the most important examples of biochemical processes is ethanol production.

A variety of crops can be used as feedstock for production of ethanol from fermentable sugar using yeast, such as sugar cane, sweet sorghum, cassava and various cereal crops (Table 4). The most widely used feedstocks, however, are sugar and starch.

The use of feedstock containing starch and cellulose for the purpose of ethanol production requires the conversion of these materials to fermentable sugar following which the fermentation step yields the desired ethanol grade after the distillation process. When grain-containing starch is to be used as feedstock, the preparation for the fermentation process involves enzyme propagation, from starch breakdown to fermentable sugars, followed by the yeast propagation. In comparison, conversion of cellulosic materials to fermentable sugars, the conversion process to starch is fairly simple. Two inherent characteristics of biomass result in the problem of converting cellulosic material: cellulose is difficult to convert to glucose sugars which are easy to convert to ethanol whereas hemicelluloses can be easily converted to xylose is difficult to ferment to ethanol (Department of Energy, 1990). The process of ethanol fermentation involves the conversion of simple sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide by yeasts. Biochemically, it is highly efficient and virtually all energy in the sugar retained in the ethanol produced (Hall et al., 1982). Removal of ethanol from fermentation broth is usually performed using distillation techniques, which is an energy- intensive step since the maximum concentration of ethanol obtained from the broth is only in the range of 10 to 20 per cent.

When sugar crops such as sweet sorghum and sugarcane are used for ethanol production, sugary

Table 4 - Ethanol yields from selected biomass Carbohydrate rich plants

Raw material

Possible production (t/ha)

Carbohydrate content (per cent)

Ethanol yields (L/t)





















Grain sorghum








Sweet Potatoes




Ligno-cellulosic raw material

Dry matter t/ha

Ethanol yields L/t

Soft wood Dilute acids



Concentrated acids Hard wood



Dilute acids



Concentrated acids



Straw Dilute acids



Concentrated acids Source: adapted from OECD, 1984





juices can be tapped from the plant and fermented directly. After extraction the bagasse residue can be burnt to fuel subsequent distillation steps.

Starch crops, such as cassava and cereal crops, can also be used, although the starch must be broken down to simple sugars before fermentation, using the sacharification process. This involves mixing the substrate with water, heating it and then subjecting it to enzymic hydrolysis. Because starch crops produce no byproduct that is equivalent to sugarcane bagasse, an external energy source is required to fuel the distillation process. The use of other renewables, such as wood from plantations and use of solar energy (as the boiling point of ethanol is 78ºC, the use of solar distillation is possible) is the logical solution to this problem. If oil were used the amount of energy required would be equivalent to the quantity of ethanol produced.

Sugar and starch crops for ethanol production have potential in regions where large areas of reasonably fertile land are under-utilized. Sugarcane and sweet sorghum are the main examples of crops containing sugar. Under suitable agro-climatic conditions, using modern agricultural methods, these crops yield up to 50 and 35 t/ha, respectively. Moreover the sugars they contain are directly fermentable to ethanol and yield bagasse as a byproduct. Bagasse can be used as a fuel for the energy-intensive ethanol distillation process, thereby improving the overall energy balance. The main disadvantage of these crops (particularly sugarcane) is that they require land and adequate irrigation for high yields (Hall et al., 1982; Vimal and Tyagi, 1988).

The primary starch crop of interest is cassava. Though a variety of other plants such as sweet potatoes, corn, rice and other cereals can be converted to ethanol, but their value as foodstuffs makes them unavailable for ethanol production. Cassava has the advantage of being tolerant to poor soil and adverse weather conditions. Another potential feedstock for ethanol production is surplus molasses from existing sugar production facilities. Every tonne of cane sugar produced, results in approximately 190 L of molasses as a byproduct. This contains 50-55 per cent fermentable sugars and yields about 280 L of ethanol per tonne of molasses when fermented (Hall et al., 1982). Only in remote sugar production facilities (where it is wasted because of high transportation costs)

does converting molasses to ethanol appear feasible. In India, molasses is a valuable input to the chemical industry and therefore may not be available for alternate uses (Vimal and Tyagi, 1988).

As mentioned earlier, the conversion of woody biomass and grasses with significant cellulosic and hemicellulosic material to ethanol is a difficult process. Significant R&D efforts are being devoted to improve conversion processes to increase the yields of ethanol, using such feedstocks. The US Department of Energy, e.g., hopes to achieve the overall goal of producing ethanol at $ 0.14/L by the turn of the century. The 1989 production cost was placed at $ 0.32/L, whereas the 1979 production cost was $ 0.86/L (DOE, 1990).

The use of ethanol as a source of energy is, however, a debatable issue in the Indian context, as it does not appear to be economical. Detailed techno- economical calculations are yet to be made to examine the feasibility of using ethanol as a blend of petrol or for use in advanced power generation system such as fuel cells. The contribution of ethanol production with a decentralized power plant would appear attractive, as the waste heat can be gainfully used in the distillation process. Such small, decentralized ‘cogeneration’ systems will be discussed later.

The second most important biochemical process in the Indian context is anaerobic digestion, or biomethanation. As mentioned earlier, India has a huge cattle-dung resource, which is highly adaptable for biogas production. Anaerobic digestion involves complex biochemical reactions, but these can broadly be classified as acidification reactions and methanation reactions. The complex molecules of biomass are first broken down to simple molecules; chiefly acetic acid in the first step and methane is produced from acids in the second step. The kinetics of methane production is highly dependent on temperature, methanogen concentration, and pH. Biogas reactors can range from a deceptively simple brick and concrete digester to using cattle dung to highly complicated UASB (Up flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket) reactors processing industrial effluent to produce methane. The hydraulic retention time, and thus the volume of the reactor, can vary from 100 d (for a rural biogas plant in a cold, north Indian hilly region) to 24 (for a UASB reactor with well formed granules).

Considering the potential in the country, MNES launched several programmes to promote



biomethanation technology quite early. The earliest (and probably the largest till a few years ago from resource allocation point) in the National Programme for Biogas Development (NPBD) aimed at promoting biogas plants in rural areas for utilizing the available cattle dung.

The latest is to promote biomethanation of urban and industrial wastes, aided by UNDP/GEF, with financial outlay of about 6 m dollars.

The number of biogas plants installed so far is about 2.9 million, second only to China. By all official counts, the NPBD is a success, but the programme is generally criticized for being dependent solely on government support. At the rate at which biogas plants are installed (even without taking into account the plants becoming non-functional for a variety of reasons), it would take several decades to realize the full potential of using cattle dung in rural areas. In spite of the enormous promise, biogas technology has for rural economy; the whole programme appears to be heading for a lame tapering-off. This can probably be attributed to the failure of MNES to integrate R&D, technology, entrepreneurship, and financing and social dynamics into a powerful programme focusing on business development opportunities. The extremely limited R&D efforts concentrated primarily on microbiological studies and even there, no effective linkage was established between laboratory work and field implementation.

The simple biogas digester, just like the simple chulha, seems to be eluding rigorous scientific analysis that can lead to an optimal design. In spite of a number of separate studies on microbial kinetics, residence time distribution studies (Raman et. al., 1988) heat transfer analysis (Kishore, 1989) and even rheological studies, a chemical reactor model of the biogas plant has not been developed so far. While the theoretical possibility exists that hydraulic retention time (HRT) of a few days is possible from kinetic consideration, the actual HRT remains at 40 d and in spite of so many advances in materials, cement, brick and metal continue to be the chief constructing materials.

On the other hand, based on R&D carried out in advanced countries, chiefly The Netherlands, concepts such as UASB have evolved and have been applied for biomethanation of distillery effluents, tannery effluents, sewage etc. However, no suitable high rate, or even medium rate, technology has been

developed for solid organic residues like municipal solid waste (MSW), industrial solid wastes, cattle dung, poultry waste. A biphasic process involving enhanced acidification, followed by methanation in a UASB reactor has been recently developed (Rajeshwari et. al, 2000) but it is yet to be upscaled and field tested.

Composting is also an important biochemical process. Based on the work done by Excel industries, some plants have been constructed to produce rich organic manure from MSW in recent years. However, as these plants rely on a lot of open area, which becomes a problem during monsoon, they seem to have met only a limited success. Reactor composting would be quite convenient for several residues (e.g. hotel wastes), but no such work has been initiated so far.

In conclusion, it appears that there are still largely unexplored or under explored areas for R&D, product development, process development etc. in the broad area of biomass utilization and that there has been very little overlap between field based ‘national’ programmes, development of product and technology and dissemination.

4.0 Modern Biomass Utilization: Some Emerging End Uses and Research Needs Modern biomass utilization hinges on using efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for conversion of biomass to more convenient forms. In

the Indian context, these technologies can be listed as follows:

Biomass briquetting/pelletisation.

Efficient charcoal making from wood/biomass residues.

Biomass gasification.

Advanced biomethanation.

A host of supporting technologies/systems will also be required to make full benefit of the conversion technologies. Some of these are:

A variety of drying equipment for use with different materials to be dried.

Size reduction and agglomeration machinery.

Cooling/cleaning systems for producer gas with particular emphasis on low maintenance and long life.

Efficient producer gas engines capable of operating on gas alone.

Optimal or low cost gas storage systems.



Efficient blowers, compressors etc.

Efficient gas burners.

Smaller capacity waste heat recovery systems.

Low capacity absorption/adsorption cooling systems operating on waste heat and/or producer gas.

Control systems for gas flow.


systems/subsystems can be gainfully employed to tackle a variety of applications ranging from process heat in industries to small power generation in rural areas. An attempt is made to classify the promising end uses and outline the underlying research needs.





4.1 Biomass as a Substitute to Fossil Fuels

Whenever there is an increase in the prices of petroleum fuels the demand for alternative fuels/energy hots up. The last few years witnessed such increases in prices and there are chances that the scenario might repeat. The last few years also saw an increase in demand for biomass briquettes, conversion of oil-fired devices to wood or biomass fired devices, co-firing of biomass with coal. The significance of biomass lies in the economies, as shown in Figure 2. It can be seen that producer gas from biomass (wood or briquettes) is an extremely attractive option for process heat as compared with petroleum derived fuels. As firewood is not a desirable option in the long run from sustainability point of view, biomass briquetting would become an important topic in the coming years.

One of the major problems dogging the briquetting industry is the wear and tear of machine parts such as the ram, taper die, wear ring, split die, etc. Due to the need for constantly replacing the worn out parts, briquetting plants operate at a low capacity utilization factor of about 28 per cent (Pachauri et. al., 1994). Attempts in the past to solve this problem by using different materials for the wearing out parts yielded only a limited success. It was also observed that heating biomass or the die reduced wear and tear (Joshi et. al., 1994). The important point to be noted is that the best scientific and technical minds of the country have perhaps not applied their minds to the problems of the industry. The small entrepreneurs, with their limited scientific skills have done an excellent job of finding low cost solutions in a difficult trial and error process to sustain the enterprise. In order to pump some advanced knowledge into briquetting, a small project was recently granted to an entrepreneur in Maharashtra by the Home Grown Technology (HGT) programme of DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research). In this project, advanced coating techniques are being tried to improve the life of the crucial machine parts.

Another problem facing briquetting industry is that briquettes form well with sawdust alone. Even though other biomass can be used, sawdust is a necessary ingredient (at least 50 per cent). This poses a severe constraint on the industry, as major agro-residues such as bagasse, rice husk, coir pith etc. will

This poses a severe constraint on the industry, as major agro-residues such as bagasse, rice husk,



have to be left out of briquetting. The peculiar

problems of biomass briquetting seem to warrant an indepth scientific and engineering research, which has

not been initiated even after two decades of briquetting

in India.

Briquetting plants are located in rural areas for logistic reasons, but power supply is an acute problem

in these areas. There is no easy solution for this

problem. An approach suggested long back is to install

a gasifier-based power plant for powering the

briquetting machine, and sell both power and briquettes. However, there are no reliable gasifiers that can take briquettes as fuel (briquettes are known to

cause clinker problems in gasifiers) and the idea could never be tried.

Briquettes also do not burn efficiently in furnaces, which were originally designed, and for coal and burning of briquettes may not be environmentally sound. All these issues can be examined in detail if there is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary programme aimed at large-scale promotion of briquetting enterprise.

Pelletisation is an alternative to briquetting. It involves pulverization, steaming, and addition of a binder and extrusion of pellets. Pelletisation takes place at a lower pressure and hence problems of wear and tear are drastically reduced. Another ongoing project of HGT is studying different technical aspects of pelletisation. The drawbacks of pelletisation are the need to add a binder, such as molasses and the stability and shelf-life of pellets, which are known to disintegrate easily. As mentioned earlier the problems of briquetting and pelletisation are complex and would need a multidisciplinary approach.

One important socio-economic aspects of briquetting is that, nearly 30 per cent of the production cost of briquettes, which goes towards biomass procurement, is ploughed back to rural areas where employment opportunities other than agriculture is quite meager. Thus, briquetting can, in principle, help in creating of wealth in rural areas.

Biomass, such as firewood obtained sustainably from plantation (e.g. rubber plantations), coconut shells, and cashew shells can probably be directly used in suitable gasifier systems to replace fuel oil or diesel. However, experience suggests (Kishore, 2001) that a gasifier system cannot be just added into an existing end use, but considerable effort goes for ‘integrating’

the gasifier with an application. Thus, development of a complete end use package, which might involve modifications of some components in the existing system, is very important to ensure successful integration. The costs for such field-based R&D-cum- demonstration are usually quite high and cannot be afforded by the entrepreneur. Hence, there is a need to take up such projects for a variety of industries such as crumb rubber manufacture, tea drying, coffee processing, food processing, lime kilns, mini-cement plants, lead recovery from used batteries, aluminium and brass melting, wire enameling etc. In some enterprises such as tea processing, there is also a good scope for introducing small cogeneration systems (Mande and Kishore, 1997), resulting in a much better utilization of biomass.

4.2 Biomass for Development of Rural Infrastructure


generation can be categorized as follows:

Direct burning of biomass to run steam turbines.

Direct burning of biomass to run sterling engines.

Gasification of biomass to run IC engines and combined cycle systems.

Biogas production from cattle dung to run IC engines.

Miscellaneous technologies for producing liquid fuel (bio-alcohol, bio-diesel, pyrolitic oil) to run IC engines.

Earlier attempts of projects related to ‘direct burning’ of biomass, such as the dendothermal power plants in Philippines (Kishore & Thukral, 1993) failed probably due to a combination of factors related to technology maturity, biomass collection, organizational set up, funding. Biomass fired stirling engine system (Kishore and Sinha, 1991) seemed a sound technology option for small power generation (< 25 kW) for isolated rural communities and for irrigation pumping. Lack of financial support for technology improvements and market development resulted in closing down of the enterprise.

The first tried out option for small village power was the biogas system. The community biogas concept in which cooking gas was produced in a decentralized manner and distributed to households and part of the gas used for power generation was a highly relevant local initiative. But as there were no efforts on technology upgradation (for example, in the direction







of developing high rate reactors, dry digestion etc.) and enterprise development, the community biogas concept degenerated into a government run programme and is finally abandoned. But the concept can be revived in view of the recent advances in anaerobic digestion. Processes, such as those described by Rajeshwari et al. (2000), can be scaled up, demonstrated at a village level through entrepreneurial efforts for production of power, cooking gas and manure on commercial or semi- commercial lines. Or the community biogas plant can itself be upgraded and revamped to involve entrepreneurs.

A project aiming to utilize oil from non-edible oil seeds as a substitute for diesel has recently been initiated in the state of Karnataka, but there is not enough field experience and operational data to evaluate such a process for technical and economic viability. Processes for producing pyrolytic oil from biomass are available, e.g., at Biomass Technology Group (BTG), University of Twente, The Netherlands and a proposal to use such oils for gas turbine operation has been mooted by a Canadian company. Such projects are yet to be evaluated for detailed techno- economic feasibility studies.

There are two problems preventing village power ventures from becoming success stories commercial. The first one is related to plant load utilization and the second to the purchasing power of rural people. The cost of power generation, apart from other factors, depends critically on the plant load factor or the number of hours of operation per year at the rated load. Figure 3 shows the variation of different cost components with the number of hours of operation for a typical gasifier-based dual fuel power plant. It can be seen that, while the diesel and biomass costs remain more or less constant, the Operation, Maintenance and Repair (OMR) and interest costs per unit of electricity generated are quite high at low plant usage hours. And yet, this is typically the case for rural loads where lighting load is low, pumping load is seasonal and no industrial load centers exist. Thus the final cost of electricity generated would tend to be high. On the other hand, the purchasing power of rural people is quite low in many areas as they are dependent primarily on agriculture. Also, electricity had been subsidized heavily for rural areas and hence people are accustomed to pay very little for it. This situation, however, is changing slowly due to electric power

situation, however, is changing slowly due to electric power regulatory bodies and several state governments are

regulatory bodies and several state governments are convinced about the need to raise tariffs. It is thus imperative that any power producer operating in rural areas cannot restrict to supply of electricity alone, and will have to expand the services offered, so that extra income is generated. Some of the operations which

have the potential to increase the profitability of a rural energy enterprise and which would help in improving rural infrastructure at the same time are:

Establishing a briquetting plant.

Supply of cooking gas.

Making of char briquettes.

Cold storage for agriculture produce.

Crop drying.

Desalination to provide drinking water.

The advantages of setting up briquetting plants have already been discussed. In the context of rural power generation, a briquetting plant would serve to increase the load in factory considerably.

Supply of cooking gas through the biomethanation route has already mentioned earlier, but it is also possible to supply piped producer gas for cooking. A scheme for such a process is shown in Figure 2 and more than 65 such installations have been established in China (Sun et al., 1995). There are several advantages of getting into the business of cooking gas supply. First, it has a direct bearing on the quality of life and removes the drudgery of women. Secondly, it frees biomass from being inefficiently used and thus makes it available for power generation. A conceptual scheme of how the biomass burnt at present



in traditional stoves can be used for providing both cooking gas and electricity at the national level is shown in Figure 4. It is evident that by following the gasifier route, not only all the cooking energy requirements are met, but also enough biomass would be available to generate 125 billion kWh of electricity. The current demand in rural areas is not even half this amount.

The useful energy utilized for the purpose of cooking is based on the current firewood consumption of 220 mt/y (TEDDY, 2000/2001) and the traditional

oven is assumed to operate at an efficiency of about 10 per cent (though it is lower than this number in many cases). This would produce a useful energy of 88 x 10 12 kcals of thermal energy. If the biomass is used through the route of gasification, at a conversion efficiency of about 70 per cent (wood to gas) and the device efficiency of 50 per cent (other than the gasification, the burner efficiency, etc.), it would not only meet all the cooking energy requirements (same useful energy) but also will be able to produce about 125 b kWh of electricity additional. Additionally, if someformof

useful energy) but also will be able to produce about 125 b kWh of electricity additional.



cogeneration is integrated to get process heat as well as electricity, would further, benefit the situation either in reducing the fuel consumed or will be able to meet energy needs in other forms.

If a biogas plant is operated in the same complex, as the gasifier power plant the waste heat from the engine can also be used which increases the operating temperature of the biogas plant, thus increasing the gas production rates. There are several other ways of using the waste heat. It can be used to run a cold storage operating on the absorption (ammonia-water) or adsorption (methanol-silica gel) (Mande et al., 1997) systems. If necessary, the waste heat can be supplemented by burning part of the gas. There is a severe shortage of cold storages in the country leading to spoilage of fruits and vegetables, resulting in distress sales by farmers. The usual practice is to rent out cold storage space on a daily or weekly rate. Operation of cold storages thus provides additional income to the power plant besides increasing the overall efficiency significantly.

The other post-harvest operation in rural areas is drying. Crop drying is presently done by open sun drying, leading to inefficient moisture removal, fungus infection etc. Crops need drying temperatures in the range of 55-80ºC, which can be easily obtained from engine exhaust by using a gas-air heat exchanger. Recent experience of using gasifiers for cardamom curing in Sikkim showed that, not only drying times are reduced, but also the quality of the dried product is superior, fetching a higher price in the market. When the demand for drying is high in drying season, gas can be used directly for burning to augment the available waste heat.

Many villages in India suffer from chronic draught, which aggravates if monsoons fail. Some of these villages, especially in Gujarat state, have brackish water, which is not fit for drinking purposes. A multistage flash (MSF) distillation system can be used to produce drinking water from brackish water. Though the available MSF systems are too large to be used in a decentralized manner, a 3-or 4-stage system can be easily developed for such applications. MSF systems also require temperatures of about 100ºC, which can be obtained from waste heat. Another alternative is to use membrane systems for reverse osmosis to produce drinking water. These will need power and hence can be employed as load centres.

A strong case thus exists for a rural power company to expand its services several-fold, so that any loss in the selling of power is offset by profits in other streams. Several thousands of such companies, operating with a basket of devices and technologies, can be set up throughout the countryside as a chain. Such a chain of companies would require the following inputs for steady, profit making operation:

Quality technical and R&D inputs from established institutes.

A high level of system integration to optimize operations.

Mechanisms to ensure supply of biomass and sale of power and other goods and services.

Financing schemes at low interest rates both for initial and working capitals.

Established NGOs (Non governmental organizations) with a good trace record can also get involved in these activities.


The Importance of Product Development, Manufacturer and Market Network for Rural and Small Enterprises

In conventional sense, ‘industrial research’ involves either an R&D institute developing and transferring the technology of a product/process to the industry or an established industry developing products/processes for its own upgradation through in- house R&D or collaboration. The funding patterns for such R&D activities are also well established. For small and rural enterprises, however, such conventional scientific wisdom may not work.

The different between the current practice of funding and a ‘desirable’ funding pattern is explained in Figure 4 (Kishore, et al., 2001, ed. Vipradas). Figure 4 projects a desired trajectory of indigenous technology development with time as X-axis and development in the Y-axis to arrive at the matured product. Generally the development starts with the evolution of an idea that gets transformed into a laboratory prototype, which gets R & D funding. In many cases, the support may continue up to the development of a field prototype testing. Normally the funds stop almost abruptly as soon as a laboratory prototype or proof-of-concept system is demonstrated. It is generally assumed that the process of transformation of a laboratory prototype into an industrial product is the job of the entrepreneur. But the rural and small entrepreneurs are ill equipped to



carry out this task. In most cases, alternate energy devices are diffusely spread and its utilization is problem specific. Here, a laboratory demonstration of a concept should not be end of the project. The product has to be successfully interpreted (from industrial design, manufacturers and also from users point of view) at the end users level with economic implications. The product should be reliable [Reliability


the ability of

a product

to deliver

what it is designed


consistently], material optimization (proper selection of

material and cost-effective [Material optimization-Often new products specifically alternate energy devices that are at proof-of- concept stage suffer from proper material selection and use of appropriate quantum material that have implications on life of the product and also on the cost] and competitive [The choice of a product in most cases is compared to the cost of existing/current product. Hence the costing should this aspect to be competitive] to

existing practices. Attempts to promote alternative energy devices, such as gasifier based pumping systems in India which did not take off at the desired level perhaps also due to some of the above problems.

An illustration, where some of the above mentioned problems were addressed, involves a product development for the silk reeling [An activity where the

cocoons are cooked and reeled to get silk yarn. The owner of such a unit is generally called as ‘reeler’] industry and is shown in

Figure 5. It has been shown (Sunil et al., 2001, ed. Vipradas) that the viability, user-friendliness, life, etc. of the product keeps improving from stage-to-stage, until it becomes strong enough to enter and sustain the market environment. Substantial ground works in developing product based on gasifier for cocoon cooking was undertaken before the actual intervention was designed. Considerable care was taken in reaching the product to maturity with appropriate inputs from various stakeholders (from users, subject experts, design consultants, manufacturers and backstoppers

[Consultants who had the mandate to see to it that the programme is meeting its designed goal and the activities are running as per plan and schedule. In addition, they were also involved in technical assessment of the project apart from other aspects the project]).

Though, original premise for using the gasifier based system cocoon cooking was, to reduce the fuel consumption and improve the working condition, due to lesser pollution in the reeling unit, there were several other benefits. These include reduction in renditta (renditta is term generally used in silk industry essentially

is term generally used in silk industry essentially means quantity of cocoons required to produce one

means quantity of cocoons required to produce one kg of silk), improvement in the quality of silk produced due to better processing conditions (consistent heat from gasifier based burner when compared to traditional oven), increased processing rate (which could result in saving of labour to do certain work or to increase the quantity of material processed) and also reduction in water consumed. The annual monetary savings due to these improvements are given in Figure 5and the fuel savings in subsequent models of gasifier based ovens.

Marketing is another important issue to be understood during the product development stage itself. Almost any product can be pushed into an artificial ‘market’ aided by subsidies, but it is an extremely difficult task to market a new product in rural areas and in non-consumer market segment. Identification and selection of manufacturers, ensuring quality control, establishing the chain of linkages both for sales and services, all require financial support, which is not available at present both to the scientist and to the small entrepreneur.

6.0 Conclusions

The biomass resource base of India is comparable to that of fossil fuels. But factors, such as collection, processing, low end-use efficiency of



conventional devices, and insufficient maturity of present biomass energy technologies are major barriers for utilizing the available bioresources more efficiently and on a sustainable basis. A review of the present status of biomass conversion and utilization technologies reveals that there is a large scope for launching major R&D and product development initiatives for promotion of efficient use of biomass. Utilization of a basket of energy technologies, rather than a single technology to deliver energy and economic services in rural areas seems to hold the key for successful commercialization and mainstreaming of biomass energy technologies. The R&D strategy and funding pattern for development of products/processes/technologies based on biomass for the benefit of small and rural enterprises will necessarily have to follow an unconventional approach.


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Dr. Kishore has 22 years of expertise in the areas of biomass utilization, waste-to-energy systems and solar energy applications. His main work experience consisted of development of products, processes, and end-use packages starting from conceptualization and prototype development to field-testing, transfer of technology and identification of market linkages. He led a group of professionals at TERI who successfully developed and commercialized biomass gasifier for a variety of applications such as sericulture, textile dyeing, institutional cooking, cardamom curing, rubber drying etc. and for decentralized power generation for remote areas. Nearly 250 TERI gasifier systems for a variety of end-uses have been installed throughout the country both under demonstration-cum action research projects supported by Government departments and bilateral agencies and commercially through manufacturers to whom the technology is transferred. Dr. Kishore has developed a process of generating energy and manure from wastes such as vegetable market wastes, food processing wastes and other organic wastes by means of a biphasic process termed TERI’s Enhanced Acidification and Methanation (TEAM) process. He has led a team, which designed, constructed and operated Asia’s largest solar pond (6000 m 2 ) for supply of process heat to a dairy in Kutch in north-west India. Earlier, he was instrumental in developing the TERI model of rural biogas plant, a mobile briquetting- gasification system for rural areas, passive solar systems for comfort conditioning in composite climates, shallow solar pond system for domestic hot water and solar (thermal) water pump. He also led a group for studying greenhouse gas emissions from small biomass combustion devices in India under a collaborative project with East West Centre, Hawaii. He has executed several other projects, which involved policy analysis, laboratory work and extensive field work. He has published over 150 papers in scientific and technical journals, edited 5 books and holds six patents. Dr. Kishore is a Chemical Engineer with a doctoral degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. He is currently a Senior Fellow and Resource Advisor at TERI and is involved in several ongoing projects in biomass and waste utilization, and in projects dealing with climate change issues, renewable energy policy and energy efficiency improvement in rural and small enterprises. He also holds the additional charge of Head, Centre of Energy and Environment in the Faculty of Applied Sciences, TERI School of Advanced Studies, which has a deemed university status. He acted as the Dean of Energy Engineering Division of TERI during 1990-1992. Before joining TERI in 1984, he was working as Scientist C in the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute of CSIR. He has acted as a chairperson and member of several committees of the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES), Department of Science and Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research etc. Currently, he is a member of the Standing Monitoring and Review Committee of Gasifier Action Research Project (GARP) of MNES and Monitoring Committee for the project on 5 & 25 kW decentralized power packs under New Millenium India Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI), launched by CSIR. He is the recipient of Dr. K.S. Rao Memorial award given by the Solar Energy Society of India, for the year 2001.

by CSIR. He is the recipient of Dr. K.S. Rao Memorial award given by the Solar



123 KISHORE & SRINIVAS: BIOFUELS OF INDIA Mr. Srinivas has 12 years of experience in the

Mr. Srinivas has 12 years of experience in the demonstration and dissemination of energy eifficient and renewable energy technologies specifically biomass energy systems, evaluation of renewable energy devices in various parts of the country, and energy planning. He has experience in the design of sub-systems of gasifier based technology for decentralized power generation and thermal applications. He was involved in the installation of various Renewable energy systems in various parts of the country (India); gasifier based power generating systems for village electrification in Karnataka; thermal systems in the industries in silk reeling and dyeing in the state of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; Solar home systems, Solar street lights, Solar pumping systems and small sized biogas plants in Haryana. He has a record of supervising the operation of the gasifier based power generation unit (low capacity) for over 5,000 hours in the field and over 30,000 hours for gasifier based thermal applications in silk industry. His conceptualizing of establishing a supply mechanism has ensured the marketing of gasifier systems in silk dyeing sector and their sustained operation. He has published about 24 papers in national & international journals, workshops and conferences and edited a book titled “Biomass energy systems”. Mr. Srinivas is a Mechanical Engineer with Bachelor’s degree from the Karnataka Regional Engineering College, Surathkal. He is currently a Research Associate at TERI and is involved in several ongoing projects in biomass assessment, monitoring of implementation of biomass devices (Biogas plants and Improved Cookstoves) in Southern India, policy research on promotion and adoption of cleaner technologies and fuels by low-capacity end-users: Biomass based small and rural industries (Karnataka state), designing and coordinating entrepreneurship development programmes in the area of renewable energy as project leader leading a group of about eight interdisciplinary professionals. Before joining TERI, he worked as Project Engineer at Combustion, Gasification and Propulsion Laboratory, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore on a project demonstrating the decentralized power generation through gasification technology and also worked as a lecturer for a very brief period at Bapuji Institute of Engnineering & Technology, Karnataka. He is the recipient of first prize for presenting a paper given by Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources during the year 1993. He is also one of the team member involved in the development of gasifier based cocoon cooking system that was awarded “Energy Globe 2001- The world Award for Sustainable Energy, Best 50” instituted by Government of Austria.