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National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 24, Mar 2022
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Reference News:-

Commission for Air Quality Management recently reviewed the progress of Biomass Co-firing.

  • Though some progress has been made towards co-firing, the CAQM finds the progress not up to the desired levels.


In May 2021, to address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprints of thermal power generation, Ministry of Power decided to set up a National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants.

Objectives of the mission:

(a) To increase the level of co-firing from present 5% to higher levels to have a larger share of carbon neutral power generation from the thermal power plants.

(b) To take up R&D activity in boiler design to handle the higher amount of silica, alkalis in the biomass pellets.

(c) To facilitate overcoming the constraints in supply chain of bio mass pellets and agro- residue and its transport upto to the power plants.

(d) To consider regulatory issues in biomass co-firing.


  1. The Mission would have a Steering Committee headed by Secretary (Power) comprising of all stakeholders including representatives from Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG), Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) etc.
  2. The Executive Committee would be headed by Member (Thermal), CEA. NTPC will play a larger role in providing logistic and infrastructure support in the proposed National Mission.

What is Biomass Cofiring?

It refers to the concurrent blending and combustion of biomass materials with other fuels such as natural gas and coal within a boiler, which reduce the use of fossil fuels for energy generation and emissions without significantly increasing costs and infrastructure investments.

Benefits of Cofiring: 

  1. Biomass cofiring is a promising technology to decrease the use of fossil fuels for energy generation and hence mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Coal and biomass cofiring accounts for the relevant advantages of a relative ease of implementation and an effective reduction of CO2 and other pollutant (SOx, NOx) emissions to the atmosphere.
  3. Cofiring biomass with coal may record no loss in total boiler efficiency after adjusting combustion output for the new fuel mixture.