Bid to fight air pollution: NTPC to use crop stubble in fuel mix

Bid to fight air pollution: NTPC to use crop stubble in fuel mix 

In an initiative to help curb increasing air pollution in Delhi and neighbouring states, the Centre has told NTPC to procure farm stubble from states like Punjab and Haryana to be used in its fuel mix, power minister R K Singh has said. 

The state-run electricity producer will use 10% of straw pellets in their energy mix, Singh said on Thursday. 

"This will create a market for stubble for the farmers," he said. "NTPC will soon float a tender for procurement of these pellets." 

The move comes even as a study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said coal-based power plants continue to flout emission norms. 

NTPC is the largest thermal power generator in the country with coal-based installed capacity of 38,755 mw. 

The national capital region is fighting a pollution emergency due to smog and extremely poor air quality for more than week now, and one of the major causes for this is widespread burning of rice stubbles by farmers in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to quickly get their fields ready for sowing wheat. The government hopes to dissuade farmers from burning stubbles by creating a market for crop residue. 

State-owned Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will finance pellet manufacturing units, which will then bid for NTPC tender, Singh said. He said farmers will get Rs 11,000 for stubble from one acre of farm land. 

NTPC will offer average price of Rs 5,500 per tonne for pellets and the average produce is two tonnes in one acre, the minister said. "We are writing to all the states and discoms that a similar obligation will be placed on the thermal generating units of the states as well," Singh said. 

Power secretary A K Bhalla, however, said using stubble pellets for power generation may not be possible this season "because infrastructure will have to be set up for the manufacture of these pellets (and) it will take some time". 

By BOA Bureau