State-owned power giant NTPC has decided to procure and use six million tonnes of agro residue-based pellets to co-fire its power plants along with coal in 2020, in its endeavour towards more sustainable power generation.

Currently, NTPC is using agro residue-based pellets at its Dadri thermal power plant. In 2020, the company would use these pellets, made out of stubble and husk, in its 21 thermal coal-fired power plants across the country.

The company has 24 coal-fired thermal power plants. In addition to this, the firm has nine more coal-fired power plants under joint ventures or of subsidiaries.

A company official said, "The tendering process for procurement of pellets at 20 more thermal power plants (in addition to Dadri plant) is on. The company envisaged consumption of six million tonnes of pellets in 2020 in power plants. A tonne of pellets costs around Rs 7,000."

The procurement cost of 6 million tonnes of the pellets works out to be around Rs 4,200 crore.

The purpose behind usage of agro-based pellets is twofold — one it turns off stubble burning in farms and brings down pollution and two, it reduces coal usage in power production.

In the past fortnight, the NTPC Dadri power plant has been co-firing close to 70-80 tonnes of agro-residue fuel along with coal. The power plant till date has received almost 2,400 tonnes of non-torrefied biomass pellets from the large number of suppliers from Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Also, to give respite to the nation from the heavy smoke emanating from farms, NTPC had also started usage of fire pellets made out of agro-residue in October 2018.

The NTPC Dadri unit became the first plant in the country to commercialise biomass co-firing with up to 10 per cent of agro-residue-based biofuel, co-firing along with coal. PTI KKS
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