India is primarily an agricultural nation with an extensive cultivation of different types of crops including cereal, pulses, oilseeds, fibre crops, spices and plantation crops. With the cultivation of these crops, availability of residual biomass after economic harvest makes power generation in a sustainable way.
These raw materials are normally available in variable quantities depending on the acreage of cultivation, mass of residue part available. The total biomass is 511,041 kT/Yr for power generation. Among them, rice, wheat and cotton constitute a major portion with 160,000,111,000 and 21,000 kT/Yr to generate power of 5000, 3300 and 3500 MW respectively. The total power generation capacity is 17,400 MW. Besides these crops, maize, jowar, bajra, coconut, groundnut, banana, cassava and mustard are also potent generators of biomass for power to an appreciable extent.
It is evident from the information stated above that the agricultural resources serve as excellent candidates for the power generation either by combustion or gasification. However it is important to note that these materials are variables by biochemical composition and moisture. So, standardization is mandatory by defining limits to make them appropriate for thermal decomposition and as consistently yielding materials of electric power. Further plans are required to efficiently collect and store for processing without time delay.