Delhi

India tests Swedish technology to reduce stubble burning

The Punjab and Haryana governments have for years exhorted farmers not to burn stubble, but it continues unabated.

The Punjab and Haryana governments have for years exhorted farmers not to burn stubble, but it continues unabated.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

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Foreign firm launches its first pilot project plant in Punjab

Pollution from stubble burning in winter is the key contributor to the sharp decline in air quality in Delhi. But stubble burning continues unabated. To find a solution to this issue, India is testing a Swedish technology — torrefaction that can convert rice stubble into ‘bio-coal’.

The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to Government of India has funded a pilot project in Punjab to evaluate the feasibility of the technology. Bioendev, a Swedish company, has set up a pilot plant at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali.

Stubble to bio-coal

According to Amar Singh, Director (India) of Bioendev, if scaled up, about 65% of the biomass could be converted to energy. The technology involves heating up straw, grass, saw mill residue and wood biomass to 250 degrees Celsius - 350 degrees Celsius. This changes the elements of the biomass into ‘coal-like’ pellets. These pellets can be used for combustion along with coal for industrial applications like steel and cement production

“We have a very small plant at Mohali but we are hoping to make a plant that can treat 30,000 tons [of residue] per annum,” said Mr. Singh. So far the technology has only been substantially tested in Scandivia as a 16,000 ton/year plant.

The Bioendev project was discussed at a gathering on Tuesday, chaired by King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden. Swedish and senior Indian government officials, academics and representatives from companies and non-governmental organisations were also present.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 5:47:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/india-tests-swedish-technology-to-reduce-stubble-burning/article30153719.ece

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