India is today a world leader in the development and application of Biomass Gasifier Technology. Reaching decentralized electricity is a boon to the people in remote areas, which would help to transform the entire economic activity and life style of the people.bms2.jpg (31448 bytes)

          About three million people inhabit the Delta Region of Sunderbans, two million of whom do not have access to electricity.  Out of 1000 remote villages in West Bengal that are yet to be electrified, 153 of those village are in Sunderbans.  The 1x500 kW biomass based power plant installed at Gosaba Island, Sunderbans in June, 1997 has been running successfully, and has so far generated more than 10 lakh units of electricity.  About 650 consumers are being served on Gosaba Island through a network of distribution lines.  The power plant is being run on a commercial basis by the Gosaba Rural Energy Cooperative.

            A 500 kW gasifier based power plant was commissioned in the remote Island of Chhotomollakhali in the Sunderbans in June, 2001.  The power plant comprises four biomass gasifier of 125 kW capacity, each connected to diesel generator sets.  The power plant will be operated daily for seven hours.  800 connections will be provided in the six villages of Chhotomollakhali Island. 


            The village has a population of 250 and was unelectrified.  The farmers income is mainly from growing mulberry crops as the area is silk producing.  A 20 kW gasifier was setup to meet the demand for electricity.  The plant is providing electricity to the people, which in turn has improved the overall economy and living conditions of the villagers.  The loads being served by the power plant include domestic lights, street lights, drinking water and irrigation tube wells, and a flour mill.  The power plant is being managed by the villagers themselves.  


            Morbi in Gujarat has a very large number of ceramic tile units, including sanitary ware units and units making roofing tiles.  These units have furnaces for biscuit making as also for glazing of the tiles.  Typical temperatures required are between 1000 and 1150oC, and a majority of these units use liquid fuels such as kerosene, furnace oil, LPG etc., for meeting their energy needs.

            Biomass gasifiers were tried out for biscuit making, and later for glazing of tiles.  Each gasifier is resulting in kerosene saving of 1300-1500 litres per day, with daily savings of about Rs.14,000/- per gasifier.  Extension of this application to other units across the country could lead to a substantial savings for the ceramic industry as a whole, as also lead to significant reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels, thereby helping the country in reducing oil imports.

            A Biomass Gasifier can also be a viable alternative to mitigate the problems being faced by the aluminium melting industry.  Aluminium melting industry is basically a small scale industry, working as ancillary units to major automobile and other large industry.  These industries work on meagre profit margins and are basically using diesel for firing their furnaces.  They procure diesel on a day-to-day basis at the prevailing market rate.  Techno-economic viability of biomass gasifiers with annual savings of Rs.5.5 lakhs per year, with payback period of 13 months has now been demonstrated.


            350 kWe biomass gasifier system with rice husk as fuel, has been installed at M/s. Maa Tara Modern Mini Rice Mill, Burdwan, Calcutta.  The plant at M/s. Maa Tara Modern Mini Rice Mill, Burdwan is an updraft one.  Both steam and air are used in processing.  Feeding material is a mixture of husk and immatures paddy.  The average diesel replacement is about 80% at full load condition.  The system is running for the last five months.  Average diesel saving is 35 liters per hour and at the present moment in lean operation period diesel saving is about 280 liters per day.  It is also reported by the mill owner that in five months of operation nearly Rs.4.5 lakhs have been saved.  In addition to these, a good amount of tar has also been collected as a by product.  The income from tar will further enhance the saving.  Use of feeding material, husk and unfertilized part of paddy gives additional 10-12% diesel saving than from only husk is used for power generation.

10 biomass gasifier cook stoves for cooking developed by SPRERI, V.V. Nagar have been supplied to Bhuj in Gujarat for the people affected due to January, 2001 earthquake in Gujarat.  The design of SPRERI’s gasifier cook stoves, produces smokeless fuel gas from biomass and has also arrangements for safe and convenient feeding of biomass and grate cleaning; the air supplied to the gasifier and the burner is separately controlled and the burner flame is shielded from wind.  The flame temperature remains in satisfactory range over many hours of continuous operation.  The cook stoves were also demonstrated to 20 potential users.  Common items of food like rice or vegetables for 50 people can be cooked on gasifier cook stove in less than one hour.  The saving in fuel wood compared to its conventional burning amounts to over 25%.



            Chhottomollakhali Island in Sunderbans situated in the district of South 24 Parganas, is about 130 km. away from Kolkata.  It has a population of about 28,000.  The main occupation of the people is fishing and agriculture.  It is difficult to extend grid electricity to Chhottomollakhali Island due to prohibitive cost involved in crossing of various rivers and creeks.  In the absence of electricity, the economic activities of the Island were suffering.  The switching on of the 4x125 kW Biomass Gasifier based Power Plant on 29th June, 2001 has changed the life the inhabitants of this remote Island.  The plant is catering to electricity needs of domestic, commercial and industrial users drinking water, hospital, ice factory, etc.  Four villages of Chhottomollakhali Island will be benefited with electricity from the power plant.

          Plant capacity                                     :         4 x 125 kW

          No. of consumers                               :         800

          Total Project Cost                               :         Rs.1,46,70,390/-

          Hours of operation                              :         5 PM to 11 PM

          Tariff Structure                                    :         4.00 / unit Domestic

                                                                            4.50 / unit Commercial

                                                                            5.00 / unit Industrial

          Energy Plantation Area                       :         40 hectares

          Fuel Consumption pattern under full      :        

          load condition

                   (a)     Biomass                :         70%

                   (b)     Diesel           :         30%

          Generation cost (per unit) under full      :         Rs.2.75

                   load condition