Biomass as India’s solution to energy access

Effective use of widely available sources of biomass in India can go a long way to tipping the balance towards sustainable energy production and equitable energy access

The combustion of biomass is essential to our product because it makes our technology sustainable. India has a lot of bio waste which, if used efficiently would be a solution for the shortage of energy.’ Bjorn Forsberg, Chairman of the Board, World Thermal Services, talks about the potential of biomass in India and the way in which its effective utilization can change India’s energy challenges.

How is your technology relevant to India?
In Sweden we produce large burner systems that combust wood powder since we have an abundance of wood. In India there is an excess of agricultural waste like rice straw and husk that can be burnt to produce biogas, this would also reduce the expenditure on conventional sources of energy like oil. It will also eventually replace coal, oil and gas as the main source of energy.

In India some sugar mills use combustion to produce energy but these are not at par with the Swedish technology and therefore are not very efficient. We would like to work in the sugar mills and also in the paper and pulp industry to give them energy generation solutions that are particular to their business.

What kind of a business model are you look at in India?
We are mainly looking for partners in India who could handle the installation and purchase of small components here in India. We will export the key components from Sweden but smaller components like fans and belts that are easily available here will be purchased from here itself.

We are not looking to do any turnkey projects we just want to bring our technology here and make businesses more energy efficient. What we are looking for are partners with the same ideas as us, they will not have to work alone since we will have a supervisor here who can guide them through the process.

Is the Indian market viable for this technology?
India is a growing economy and businesses are becoming more aware of their waste and CO2 generation thus it is an interesting market to work in. There are many bio mass power stations here but improvement is needed and they can run more efficiently.

To showcase this we want to set up a pilot project so that people can see the rice straw combustion and how energy is harnessed.

What are some ways in which this process can be improved?
We want to showcase how various systems should be used to make the process of combustion more efficient, by using dryers to reduce the moisture content in the straw it can combust better.

It is necessary to dry the bio mass first and then to convert it into a fine powder to improve the efficiency of the combustion.