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In the case of combustion, the biomass is fired to generate steam which turns a turbine for power production. In the case of gasification, the biomass is gasified into a mixture of CO and H2 in a gasifier. This gas is fed to a gas engine that produces electricity.

Biomass gasification refers to the incomplete combustion of biomass resulting in production of combustible gases consisting of Carbon monoxide (CO), Hydrogen (H2) and traces of Methane (CH4). This mixture is called producer gas. Producer gas can be used to run internal combustion engines (both compression and spark ignition) for power production, or can be used as substitute for furnace oil in direct heat applications.

Gasifiers can work at low scales – as low as 20 kW, and works well up to 2 MW, with current technology.

Technology uses a combination of gasifier and gas engines. The technology has been in vogue for decades, but is still evolving. Currently, less than 125 MW of cumulative installed capacity in India (less than 15% of total biomass power, excluding biomass cogeneration). Works best for woody biomass, but latest gasifiers also work reasonably well with nonwoody (including fine biomass).


Biomass-based Power Production Methods



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