Power plants to mix coal with 10 per cent straw to curb air pollution and maybe even stubble burning

Farm stubble, the burning of which is a major cause of the air pollution crisis, could be used to make straw briquettes or pellets to be used as fuel in power generating plants.

Published: 16th November 2017 06:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2017 06:32 PM   |  A+A-

A man runs across an expressway cloaked in smog near Delhi, India November13, 2017. | Reuters


NEW DELHI: In a major double-edged measure to curb polluting emissions, the government will allow thermal power generators to mix coal with a 10 per cent component of straw pellets to fuel the plants, Union Power Minister R.K. Singh said on Thursday.

The move may also help cut down the burning of farm stubble which is a major source of the current acute air pollution in Delhi. The farm stubble could go into the making of straw briquettes or pellets to be used as fuel in power generating plants. 

"We have spoken to the thermal power generators regarding emissions and they can now mix the coal fuel with 10 per cent of straw pellets or briquettes," Singh told reporters here after launching the portal of the Saubhagya project that aims to provide four crore unelectrified households in the country with power by December 2018.

Declaring that similar obligations would also be put on coal-fired plants in the state, he said that the notification on the matter is being issued shortly.

Noting that the price of straw pellets average around Rs 5,500 per tonne and that a farmer can gather around two tonnes per acre, Singh hoped that creating such a market would help reduce stubble burning.

The Minister also said that renewables finance agency Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd would give finance for pellets manufacturing, while state-run generator NTPC would soon float a tender for their supply.

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