India endorses use of biomass pellets in coal-fired power plants

India has made the use of biomass pellets mandatory in some coal-fired thermal power plants in a bid to cut air pollution by using agricultural waste that is otherwise burnt by farmers to generate electricity.

With this decision, three categories of thermal power plants must use a 5 per cent blend of biomass pellets along with coal.

Farmers in some northern Indian states burn off vast swathes of paddy stalks and straw during the winter season to prepare the ground for planting. The process causes severe spikes in air pollution from late September, which often lead to a thick blanket of smog over northern India.

The federal policy will take effect in October 2022, with a requirement to raise the proportion of biomass to 7 per cent within two years for two categories of power plants.

“The policy for co-firing of biomass would be in force for 25 years, or until the useful life of the thermal power plant, whichever is earlier,” the Power Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Source- The Straits Times