From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Bioendev project, Torrefaction
Mains level : Alternatives to stubble burning
To find a solution to stubble burning issue, India is testing a Swedish technology — torrefaction that can convert rice stubble into ‘bio-coal’.
- The Bioendev project was discussed at a gathering chaired by King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden and PM Modi.
- The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to GoI has funded a pilot project in Punjab to evaluate the feasibility of the technology.
- Bioendev is a Swedish company and it has set up a pilot plant at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali.
What is Torrefaction?
- Torrefaction is a thermal process to convert biomass into a coal-like material, which has better fuel characteristics than the original biomass.
- It involves heating up straw, grass, saw mill residue and wood biomass to 250 degrees Celsius – 350 degrees Celsius.
- This changes the elements of the biomass into ‘coal-like’ pellets.
- These pellets can be used for combustion along with coal for industrial applications like steel and cement production
- If scaled up, about 65% of the biomass could be converted to energy.