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Here’s an interesting analysis at Biopact that evaluates whether biomass gasification technologies could indeed be the solution for greater access to energy for the poor rural Indians.

While I found the overall article excellent with useful links to case studies and other resources, I found myself staring at some numbers and comparisons provided in the article for biomass gasification costs:

“It has been estimated that biomass gasification generates 1 MW of power at around 20 to 30 million rupiah (…my comments: I think they mean rupees…rupiah is the Indonesian currency , not Indian) (€353,000/US$481,000 to €530,000/US$721,000). Solar energy costs between 15 and 20 times more, at about 350 to 400 million rupiah (€6.2/US$8.4 to €7/US$9.6 million) per MW .”

To me, the costs (capex) for solar looks on the higher side, I think it’d be more like $6 million per MW and the costs for biomass gasification looks on the lower side. For large-scale biomass gasification (which work on much higher temperatures than the pyrolysis systems that the smaller-scale systems use), the capital cost is about $2 million per MW. I doubt, if the capex could be as low as $0.5 million per MW for the small scale systems. More likely to be around $1 million per MW. Will check this out at the earliest

Oh, and while we are at it, here’s an Indian company that appears to provide a solution described above. And here’s another product from IISc