The solar-biomass model may prove to be optimal solutions when it comes to developing renewable solar energy power plants that can dependably distribute power on an ongoing basis.
This might be especially true in India, where coal power, a leading emitter of CO2, remains a leader in providing electricity.
As reported by CSP Today, last month India’s Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) announced plans to build a 3 MW CSP-biomass power plant in the village of Barunr.
This hybrid CSP project looks interesting and, if successful, will elevate the fortunes of renewable energy and CSP in India. Called SCOPEBIG (Scalable CSP Optimised Power Plant Engineered with Biomass Integrated Gasification), the hybrid project is being set up under the EU-India Cooperation on Renewable Energy with a commitment of around €8 million.
Other CSP and biomass pioneers include Israeli-based AORA Solar, with niche 24/7 power plant projects existing in Spain, Israel, the United States, with a soon-to-be-announced plant in Ethiopia.
As for the developing the gasifier technology, expertise will come from the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands and from the 250kW plant sponsored by India’s Department of Science and Technology and built by Thermax near Pune.
Among the priorities of the project is to use low-cost solar collectors and to localize all of the components, of which the latter would make the power plant a first of its kind in India.
“The components used in this plant, in both the CSP and biomass island will be completely indigenously manufactured,” Dr. R. R. Sonde, executive vice president of research, technology & innovation at Thermax, said during the inauguration event.
Specific to the India project, biomass is abundant in India, especially in Bihar, yet large quantities remain untapped. The MNRE estimates that the country produces 500 million metric tons of biomass annually but 120 to 150 million tons remain unused.
With the construction of the SCOPEBIG project might demonstrate the viability of CSP-biomass plants at a smaller scale for replication across India, while studying the social effect on rural areas.