Indian soybean operation to install biomass gasification plant

By Erin Voegele | July 13, 2012

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a 1 MW biomass gasification system. According to the MNRE, the project aims to accelerate the adoption of environmentally sustainable biomass power technologies by removing barriers to biomass power generation in India, thereby laying the foundation for commercial-scale biomass power through increased access to financing.

The 1 MW fluidized bed gasification plant is being established as a model investment project. The facility, which will be supplied by Thermax Ltd., is planned for installation at Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. in Washim, Maharashtra. The MNRE noted that Thermax acquired the gasification technology from two Netherlands-based entities; the Energy Research Centre (ECN) and Dahlman.

According to the MNRE, Thermax and Ruchi Soya Industries signed the MOU in early July in the presence of MNRE Secretary Shri Gireesh B. Pradhan in New Delhi. The ministry also stated that the proposed gasification system has a higher conversion efficiency than existing gasification systems, achieving greater than 90 percent efficiency compared to the 80-85 percent efficiency achieved by existing systems. The plant will also include an advanced gas cleanup system.

Archived information published to the ECN website noted that it signed a cooperation agreement related to its gasification system with Thermax in February 2011. Regarding the system that is to be installed at Ruchi Soya Industries, the ECN said that soybean residues will be used as feedstock. The resulting energy will be used to process soybeans at the plantation.

ECN’s gasification technology is known as Milena. According to the ECN, the compact fluidized gasifier consists of two integrated reactors that produce a gas that is essentially free of nitrogen. One reactor performs pyrolysis and gasification activities, while the other is for combustion. “Heat is transported by circulating bed materials from the combustion reactor to the gasification reactor,” said the ECN on its website. “The fuel for the combustion is the solid residue from the gasification reactor, possibly with additional fuels.”