Handling agri waste the remunerative approach

Vijay C Roy

WITH a view to curbing stubble fires, the Punjab Government determined in 2013 to finetune its coverage for the administration and utilisation of paddy straw to deal with a multi-pronged, built-in method.

One of the technical measures highlighted at the moment was straw mulching within the fields by utilizing specifically designed machines. In this process, the residue is assimilated into the sphere itself and is thus used to extend the nutrient worth or fertility of the soil. The in situ mechanism of paddy straw was anticipated to cut back fertiliser consumption by 25 per cent.

The second measure pertained to using straw. During a gathering in 2013, the Punjab State Council for Science & Technology (PSCST) informed the state authorities that paddy stubble may be transformed into briquettes which can be utilized as an alternative to coal or furnace oil to fireside boilers and brick kilns. The gasoline included 60-70 per cent paddy straw and the remaining have been different types of biomass. Having bought encouraging outcomes, mission proposals have been submitted to the Centre. In 2016, a grant was obtained from the Ministry of Environment to arrange two demo gasoline vegetation to transform paddy straw into briquettes. One of the vegetation was commissioned in Moga in 2019 and the opposite might be commissioned quickly.

Keeping in view the rising menace of burning of crop stubble, a number of initiatives for its correct administration have been taken, however nonetheless the issue persists in Punjab and Haryana. Both states collectively produce round 35 million tonnes of paddy straw yearly. Some estimates say round 80 per cent is burnt. Farmers set afire a significant portion of the straw resulting from lack of reasonably priced options. Its storage, assortment and transportation is a expensive affair. The straw has a helpful heating worth of three,200 to three,500 kcal/kg, which is nearer to that of coal used for energy era in thermal energy vegetation.

In Punjab, with the help of the Centre, over 50,000 machines have been supplied on subsidy to paddy growers for the administration of crop residue previously two years, together with comfortable seeders, Super Stubble Management Systems (Super SMS), an attachment with the present mix harvester, choppers and mulchers, balers and many others.

According to specialists, there’s a 20-day window accessible to the farmers after the fruits of paddy harvesting and the beginning of wheat sowing. During this era, these machines can not cowl the entire space underneath these crops. The affordability of the machines can be a giant situation.

Biomass models

Currently, at the least a dozen biomass models are utilizing paddy straw as uncooked materials within the two states, moreover a number of cardboard producers. Considering the biomass era, the utilization by the {industry} is minuscule.

Last yr, in the course of the Progressive Punjab Investors’ Summit, the state authorities invited investments from industrialists, citing big potential for utilising paddy straw. “Almost 20 million tonnes of stubble is being produced every year, of which only a small portion is processed, leaving surplus with farmers who have no option but to burn it,” the then Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Viswajeet Khanna had informed the gathering in the course of the summit.

Straw-based initiatives

Paddy straw is an alternative choice to coal and crude oil for producing vitality. The Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Private Limited (PRESPL) has arrange a plant in Patiala district to transform paddy straw into briquettes. The plant, which has the capability to deal with 150 tonnes per day of straw, might be inaugurated quickly. This might be completely a straw-based unit. The whole price of the mission is Rs 9 crore. The grant from the Centre is to the tune of Rs 65 lakh.

“This will be the first-of-its-kind project in Punjab. We will supply the briquettes to the industry as an alternative to coal and we will also use it for our own captive consumption as part of our backward integration plan,” says Lt Col Monish Ahuja (retd), managing director, PRESPL.

“We provide balers and chippers to the farmers to assist them in pre-processing the agricultural waste before it is transported to the company warehouse. Apart from providing raw material, the farmers are responsible for transporting the waste from their farms to the warehouses and then to the plant site using tractor trailers. They get paid for this effort,” he provides. “So, in a way, we are making them village-level entrepreneurs.”

The agricultural waste collected then goes to the briquetting facility owned by the corporate, and briquettes from these services are transported to the steam era vegetation. At these vegetation, biomass briquettes are burned to kind steam. This steam is then bought to industries. The steam era vegetation are arrange both inside such factories or close by. By promoting steam on to the {industry}, PRESPL can be in a position to bypass the problems confronted whereas working with the distribution firm.

The firm began biomass aggregation and provide in India in 2011. In March 2020, it commissioned the first-of-its-kind 100% uncooked biomass-fired boiler for steam era and the sale of vitality on a steam buy settlement (akin to a PPA) for a 10-year tenure. The firm will promote steam to industrial shoppers by firing boilers from briquettes.

A2P (agri to energy) Energy Solution Private Limited seeks to supply methods to take care of the urgent situation of stubble burning. It is working with farmers in Punjab by shopping for the crop residue and serving to them earn extra revenue from farm waste by changing it into pellets that are then put to industrial use for gasoline.

“Last year, we converted 1,400 tonnes of paddy waste into fuel pellets and sold it to industry to fuel their boilers,” says Sukhmeet Singh of A2P Energy. The firm has a unit in Rajpura. The farmers can earn Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 per acre by promoting paddy straw.

Oil corporations’ plans

Oil corporations are proposing ethanol bio-refinery vegetation utilizing paddy straw. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited introduced to arrange a second-generation (2G) ethanol bio-refinery in Bathinda. Once operational, it’ll use over 400 tonnes of paddy straw per day along with different types of biomass. In Haryana, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has proposed to arrange a 100-kilolitre per day capability bio-refinery at Bohali village in Panipat. Once practical, it’ll use 700 tonnes of paddy straw every day and produce 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day. According to specialists, there’s a want to determine extra vegetation that devour paddy straw and convert it into ethanol or bio CNG. The success of those initiatives requires making them economically viable, in order that the farmers get good costs for paddy straw.

IIT initiative

  • In December 2019, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Madras) had introduced academia-industry collaboration with Sukhbir Agro Energy Limited (SAEL) for know-how improvement in thermal energy era utilizing paddy straw as gasoline.
  • SAEL approached the NCCRD (National Centre for Combustion Research and Development) at IIT-Madras for a tieup to conduct analysis & improvement.
  • Speaking about focused outcomes of the collaboration, Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy, Professor in-charge, NCCRD, had mentioned: “IIT-Madras will meet technical requirements such as design of the prototype boiler, conducting trials and providing the criterion for the design of new power plant boilers, while the whole project will be funded by SAEL.” Prof Chakravarthy had additionally talked about conducting trials in a laboratory-scale combustor.

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