Decarbonizing India’s Energy Sector by Biomass and Biofuels
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This post is a part of DIL Intelligence series from Energy Alternatives India (EAI), India’s leading climate-tech consulting firm.

DIL stands for Decarbonization for India’s Leaders and provides comprehensive market intelligence and updates to Indian corporate leaders on prominent decarbonization efforts across the Indian industrial ecosystem. DIL is provided by EAI’s strategy consulting team. More about our consulting from here.


In India, 22% of the total energy supply is renewables, with biomass contributing 85%. Biomass use is shifting from traditional residential heating to power production. Biofuels represent less than 1% of transport fuels, with bioethanol at 3% of gasoline consumption. The biomass market is projected to reach INR 32,000 crore by FY2030-31. India produces 450-500 million tonnes of biomass annually, with a surplus of 230 MMT/year. Biomass-derived energy constitutes 32% of India’s primary energy use. The biomass pellet manufacturing capacity is 2.38 MMT, with 83,066 MT co-fired in 39 thermal power plants.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, including biofuels, for its energy demand. This involves using bio-pathways to fix CO2 and recycling materials across value chains. RIL plans to set up around 100 Compressed Biogas (CBG) plants over the next five years, consuming over 5.5 million tonnes per annum of agricultural residue and organic waste. This initiative is projected to reduce nearly 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. In essence, RIL’s decarbonization strategy involves renewable energy, biofuels, recycling, and CBG plants.

Thermax, an Indian energy and environment engineering company, is decarbonizing its manufacturing processes using biomass and biofuels. Its subsidiary, TOESL, installs biomass-fired plants and sells steam. Thermax’s solutions include the Atmospheric Fluidised Bed Combustion Boiler, capable of using various fuels including coal, lignite, rice husk, petcoke, spent coffee ground, washery rejects, low ash coal, paper sludge, roasted chaffs, DOB, bagasse, pith woodchips, coffee husks, mustard stalk, cotton stalk, and char. Thermax has secured an order worth over Rs 500 crore to set up five bio-CNG plants across India, with a capacity to produce 110 Tonnes Per Day of bio-CNG, utilizing local feedstock exceeding 1,000 TPD. This initiative contributes to the decarbonization of manufacturing processes.

The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is a key aspect of the company’s strategies. This transition is driven by the need for cleaner energy sources and the potential economic benefits of renewable energy. Development of advanced biofuels like bioethanol, biodiesel, and biogas from sustainable feedstocks like algae and dedicated energy crops can further reduce reliance on fossil fuels and enhance energy security.

Looking ahead, the focus will be on enhancing the efficiency of biomass and biofuel technologies, developing second-generation bioconversion processes, and ensuring the sustainable sourcing of feedstocks. The potential of biomass and biofuels extends beyond just energy production. It opens up opportunities for waste management, rural development, and job creation, contributing to a circular economy. Companies like Reliance Industries and Thermax are pioneering this transition, demonstrating the viability and benefits of these renewable energy sources.


This post is a part of DIL Intelligence series from Energy Alternatives India (EAI), India’s leading climate-tech consulting firm.

DIL stands for Decarbonization for India’s Leaders and provides comprehensive market intelligence and updates to Indian corporate leaders on prominent decarbonization efforts across the Indian industrial ecosystem. DIL is provided by EAI’s strategy consulting team. More about our consulting from here.




About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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