India Opens its First Energy Project Based on Biomass

In the Betul district of India, the installation of an energy production unit comprised of two 10-kW biomass gasifiers and engine-gensets will provide electricity to meet the total energy requirements of 55 tribal households in an adivasi [original inhabitants] village.

This project is said to be the first test project of Village Energy Security using locally available biomass material. Plantations of fast-growing species have been completed in 10 hectares of land around the village to ensure sustained supply of wood for the gasifiers. An expeller unit will be installed to produce bio-oil from the oilseeds of the Jatropha plantation, which will be used for running pumpsets. Improved chulhas [cookstoves] have been constructed in every house to conserve firewood; biogas plants are being built to provide cooking energy to the households. Lights for each household, school, engine room and streets have been provided. A flourmill is being energized and a water pump and milk-chilling unit are also proposed. The villagers welcome development of their village, anticipate income generation and expect improvement in their quality of life. A village energy committee is responsible for operation and maintenance, fixation and collection of user charges and overall management of the project. The committee has 11 members, four of whom, the release notes, are female. Local youth have been trained for operation and maintenance of the systems.
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