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BIOMASS | ALTERNATIVE FUELS Results have been so positive that GSH is switching over completely to biomass and increasing the range of products it uses A 60% cut in CO2 emissions has been achieved by switching from coal to biomass enrichment, promoting a circular economy. Whats essential for this process is that the biomass product is sustainable. There have been examples elsewhere in the world of biomass being harvested unsustainably, potentially creating greater problems than the use of coal, but the biomass in the Kaleesuwari project is sourced from within a 20km radius of the two plants in Chennai and Palani. The products are typically by-products of other production processes: the sawdust is a by-product of local woodworking; the turmeric waste is a result of the extraction and separation of turmeric; the waste chilli powder is generated from the extraction of COSTS There are many clear benets of using biomass compared with coal. Coal currently costs around Rs7,000 (76) per tonne and has a gross caloric value, or gross energy the amount of heat released by a specied quantity of fuel of about 5,000kcal per kg. This gives coal an energy cost of Rs1.40 (1.5p) per 1,000kcal. Biomass has a lower cost Rs4,000 (43) a tonne but also a lower gross energy (4,000kcal per kg), yet it still works out at a lower energy cost of Rs1 (1.1p) per 1,000kcal. This is roughly 70% of the cost of coal. There is seasonal variation on the types of biomass product available which means price volatility but, overall, the supply is considered secure because of the large variety of biomass available across India. The price average is also far below that of coal. colour and capsicum pigment from chillis; corncob is an agricultural residue produced during the harvesting process; and the charcoal is derived from the pyrolysis of wood waste. Biomass is widely available in India because of the amount of agricultural land in use, ensuring that there is a long-term source of biomass products even if specific types of biomass are seasonal. In addition to the benefits to the community of reduced emissions, biomass indirectly generates local employment opportunities that would not be available to the same degree with coal including fueltruck drivers, biomass unloading personnel, fuel-blending labourers and fuel testers. Results By switching from coal to biomass, GSH achieved a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the two Kaleesuwari refineries in Tamil Nadu, plus a 15% reduction in the cost of steam. The carbon emissions per tonne were calculated using stoichiometric equations the quantitative relationship between reactants and products. The results have been so positive that GSH is now in the process of switching over completely to biomass and increasing the range of biomass products it uses, including chilli powder. If both plants were to become entirely fuelled by biomass, the carbon emissions would be on a par with that from coal, but these emissions are treated as carbon neutral because of the CO2 absorbed by plants as they grow. As a result, the biomass combustion systems are treated as nil net carbon emitters. The Kaleesuwari project won GSH Group India the Environment category at the 2018 Energy Institute Awards, held in London last November. Energy Institute president Malcolm Brinded said: GSH Group should be proud of the inroads it has achieved in reducing the environmental impact of Kaleesuwaris steam-production process and showing other businesses in India that shifting from coal to alternative fuels can be a viable option. CJ ANAND D G CHENNAI is director of operations at GSH Group Trusted Technology Partner Silas Flytkjaer, Head of Strategic Business Development - Commercial www.sav-systems.com 40 April 2019 www.cibsejournal.com CIBSE Apr19 pp38-40 Tumeric biomass.indd 40 22/03/2019 16:56