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. Biomass 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. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has realised the potential and role of biomass energy in the Indian context and hence has initiated a number of programmes for promotion of efficient technologies for its use in various sectors of the economy to ensure derivation of maximum benefits. For efficient utilization of biomass, bagasse based cogeneration in sugar mills and biomass power generation have been taken up under biomass power and cogeneration programme.
power & cogeneration programme is
implemented with the main objective of promoting technologies for optimum use
of country’s biomass resources for grid power generation. Biomass
materials used for power generation include bagasse, rice husk, straw, cotton
stalk, coconut shells, soya husk, de-oiled cakes, coffee waste, jute wastes,
groundnut shells, saw dust etc.
As per a recent study
sponsored by MNRE, the current availability of biomass in India is estimated at
about 750 million metric tonnes per year. The Study indicated
estimated surplus biomass availability at about 230 million metric tonnes per
annum covering agricultural residues corresponding to a potential of
about 28 GW. This apart, about 14 GW additional power could be generated through bagasse based cogeneration in
the country’s 550 Sugar mills, if these sugar mills were to adopt technically
and economically optimal levels of cogeneration for extracting power from the
bagasse produced by them.
The thermo chemical processes for conversion of biomass to useful products involve combustion, gasification or pyrolysis. The most commonly used route is combustion. The advantage is that the technology used is similar to that of a thermal plant based on coal, except for the boiler. The cycle used is the conventional rankine cycle with biomass being burnt in high-pressure boiler to generate steam and operating a turbine with the generated steam. The exhaust of the steam turbine can either be fully condensed to produce power, or used partly or fully for another useful heating activity. The latter mode is called cogeneration. In India, cogeneration route finds application mainly in industries.
3.2 Cogeneration in Sugar and Mills
Sugar industry has been traditionally practicing cogeneration by using bagasse as a fuel. With the advancement in the technology for generation and utilization of steam at high temperature and pressure, sugar industry can produce electricity and steam for their own requirements. It can also produce significant surplus electricity for sale to the grid using same quantity of bagasse. For example, if steam generation temperature/pressure is raised from 400oC/33 bar to 485oC/66 bar, more than 80 KWh of additional electricity can be produced for each ton of cane crushed. The sale of surplus power generated through optimum cogeneration would help a sugar mill to improve its viability, apart from adding to the power generation capacity of the country.
The Ministry has been implementing biomass power/co-generation programme since mid-nineties. Over 800 biomass power and bagasse/Non-bagasse cogeneration projects aggregating to 10205.61 MW capacity have been installed in the country for feeding power to the grid. States which have taken leadership position in implementation of bagasse cogeneration projects are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The leading States for biomass power projects are Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
5. CENTRAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND FISCAL INCENTIVES
5.1 CFA for Briquette/Pellet manufacturing and Biomass (non-bagasse) based projects (Valid upto 31 March 2026).
/ Pellet Manufacturing plants
9 Lakh per MTPH (metric ton/hour) manufacturing capacity (maximum CFA of Rs 45
Lakhs per plant)
(Non-bagasse ) cogeneration projects
40 Lakhs/MW (on Installed Capacity) (maximum CFA of Rs. 5 Crores per project)
*Service charges to Implementing/ inspection agencies:
i) Implementing agency (IA) i.e. IREDA shall be provided a service charge @1% of total CFA.
ii) Performance Inspection Agency shall be provided service charge of:
(a) Rs. 25,000 per metric ton per hour (maximum Rs. 1 Lakh per project) for Briquette/Pellet manufacturing plants, and
(b) Rs.1 Lakh/MW (Maximum Rs.5 Lakh per project) for Biomass (non-bagasse) cogeneration projects.
6. Current Status
As on 31.10.2022, a total capacity of 10205.61 MW has been installed in Biomass Power and Cogeneration Sector.
Installed Capacity of Biomass IPP – 1871.11 MW
Installed Capacity of Bagasse Cogeneration – 7562.45 MW
Installed Capacity of Non-Bagasse Cogeneration - 772.05 MW
Brief Introduction: Biogas is produced when
bio-degradable organic materials/wastes such as cattle-dung, biomass from farms,
gardens, kitchens, industry, poultry droppings, night soil and municipals
wastes are subjected to a scientific process, called Anaerobic Digestion (A.D.)
in a Biogas Plants. Biogas Plant designs depend upon several factors and the
feed stock to be processed is of paramount importance. Biogas is the mixture of
gases (primarily methane (CH4) and
Carbon di-oxide (CO2) and traces of
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), Moisture)
produced by the decomposition/breakdown of bio-degradable organic matter in the
absence of oxygen from raw materials such as agricultural waste, cattle dung,
poultry droppings, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or
food/kitchen waste. Biogas has a calorific value of about 5000 kcal per m3. The digested slurry produced from
Biogas Plants as a by-product is a better source of nutrient enriched organic
manure for use in Agriculture. It not only helps in improving the crop yield
but also maintain soil health.
There is ample potential of setting up biogas plants considering the livestock population of 512.06 million, which includes about 300 million (299.98 million) total population of bovines (comprising of cattle, buffalo, mithun and yak). The livestock sector contributes about significantly to India’s GDP and will continue to increase. The dissemination of biogas technology is a boon for Indian farmers with its direct and collateral benefits.
2. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy promoted installation of biogas plants by implementing 2 Central Sector Schemes under Off-Grid/distributed and decentralized Renewable Power. The following schemes were valid upto 31/03/2021:
i. New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme (NNBOMP), for Biogas Plant size ranging from 1 cu.m. to 25 cu.m. per day.
ii. Biogas Power Generation (Off-grid) and Thermal energy application Programme (BPGTP), for setting up biogas plants in the size range of 30 m3 to 2500 m3 per day, for corresponding power generation capacity range of 3 kW to 250 kW from biogas or raw biogas for thermal energy /cooling applications.
Biogas contains about 55-65 % of methane, 35- 44 % of carbon dioxide and traces of other gases, such as Hydrogen Sulphide, Nitrogen and Ammonia. Biogas, in its raw form, that is without any purification, can be used as clean cooking fuel like LPG, lighting, motive power and generation of electricity. It can be used in diesel engines to substitute diesel up to 80% and up to 100% replacement of diesel by using 100% Biogas Engines. Further, Biogas can be purified and upgraded up to 98% purity of methane content to make it suitable to be used as a green and clean fuel for transportation or filling in cylinders at high pressure of 250 bar or so and called as Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG).
3. Initially, Biogas Plants were developed for digesting cattle dung. However, over a period of time, technology has been developed for the bio-methanation of various types of biomass materials and organic wastes. Biogas plant designs are now available from 0.5 M3 to 1000 M3 unit size or more and multiples of that can be installed for achieving higher Biogas Plant sizes, depending upon availability of the raw material such as for family/ household, small farmers, dairy farmers and for community, institutional and industrial/ commercial applications. The unit size of industrial and municipal wastes based biogas plants may go up to 15000 M3 to 20000 M3 biogas production per day.
4. Design and approved models:
MNRE has approved various designs of biogas plants and the same have become proven ones for field worthiness. Indian standards for Biogas Plants, accessories and appliances have been also brought out by the MNRE and BIS. The process is a on going one. There are 4 types of basic model and 10 types of designs of biogas plants approved under the NNBOMP. The details of which are available in the scheme Guidelines. All approved designs are eligible for financial subsidies and other facilities uniformly across the country.
5. MNRE continuoes to give high priority for the development and utilization of biogas as energy in its various forms. Under the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP), about 50.0 Lakh (5 Million) Family size plants have been installed up to 2017-18. The NBMMP scheme has been redesigned, modified and renamed as New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme (NNBOMP) and continued from 2018-19 with the aim to enhance the biogas production from small Biogas plants of 1 to 25 M3 capacity. The scheme aims to set up about 2.5 Lakh units of Biogas plants of various sizes in the above mentioned capacity range with an overall biogas generation of about 8 lakh Cu. M. per day. The Government of India, MNRE, has also enhanced the CFA for various approved components. Now 100% biogas engines in smaller capacity ranges are available, and the surplus biogas can be utilized for meeting lighting, small power and electricity requirement from a Biogas Plant.
For encouraging farmers to use nutrient enriched organic bio-manure, the scheme also aims for value addition of the biogas plant slurry by linking it with enrichment units such as vermicomposting, Phosphate Rich Organic Manure (PROM) plants and other organic enrichment facilities as a source of an additional income and saving in chemical fertilizers bills of farmers.
6. Biogas based Power Generation (Off-grid) and Thermal Application Programme (BPGTP)
are reliable source of decentralized Renewable Energy for heating, cooking as
well as generating electricity/ power generation and thermal energy application
alternatives in our country. In order to promote
this Decentralized Renewable Energy Source (DRES) of
power generation, specifically in the small
capacity range (3 kW to 250 kW) and thermal energy for heating/cooling
from the biogas produced from Biogas plants of 30 M3 to
2500 M3 size, operated
based on the availability of required quantity of biodegradable
The organic bio-degradable wastes from various sources such as cattle dung/ animal wastes, food & kitchen waste, poultry dropping waste, agro-industry waste etc. are the feed stock for Biogas plants. These plants are especially beneficial for meeting Off-grid Power requirements for individual dairy and poultry plants, dairy co-operatives for operation of dairy equipment and other electrical, thermal and cooling energy requirements for plant operation. The installations of such biogas systems replaces diesel in DG sets and also reduce the electricity bills of the individual farmers/ beneficiary, entrepreneurs, dairy farmer, dairy co-operatives thereby helping to increase the income of farmers/ end users. The nutreient enriched organic bio-manure is another stream of income generation from biogas projects and at the same time saving in the expenditure of chemical fertilizers by reduction of use of chemical fertilizers and other profitable ventures like organic farming.
6.1 Biogas plants installed under the scheme meets the electrical or thermal requirements of the beneficiaries and dairy farmers and other organizations. It is used for milk chilling applications and other general applications such as pumping, lighting, irrigation as well as cooking. The farmers can also sell out surplus biogas/ electricity to his neighbours in off-grid mode.
Impact of biogas power plants:
Based on the data reported and evaluation done through third party study, the overall impact of the programme implementation was observed to be encouraging. As revealed from the table given below, for a case study of 45 Biogas plants and extrapolated for 163 projects,
Total No. of Plants
Annual Energy Cost Savings (In Rs. Lakhs)
Annual CO2 Savings (In Tons)
Annual Bio-manure Production (In Tons)
Direct Employment (Man-days)
In-Direct Employment (Man-days)
6.2. Implementation of BPGTP:
The BPGTP Scheme is being implemented by the Agriculture and Rural Development Departments of the States and Dairy Cooperatives. However, the programme is also implemented through the State Renewable Energy Agencies (SNAs), Biogas Development and Training Centres (BDTCs), Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in States where Agriculture and State Rural Development Departments are not in a position to implement. The Programme Implementing Agencies (PIAs) may take help of Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Local Bodies (LBs) as an overarching Institutions allowing need based interventions under the community development programme in rural areas as well as areas to cover North Eastern Areas, Forest Fringe Villages, in large population concentration of SC/ ST communities including in tribal areas.