I want to tell you about the Saran Renewables
projects in India. I heard about them on the Community Channel because they won an Ashden Award
last year. They are using sustainable sources of biomass to produce a reliable supply of electricity a fixed number of hours a day.
Wood or other biomass goes into a gasifier to be converted into burnable gas and this is cleaned up through chemical processes onsite. The cleaned gas is then fed into a gas turbine which produces electricity.
"The biomass comes from ‘dhaincha’, a local woody plant which can be easily and profitably grown by local farmers. The generator connects to transmission lines to supply small businesses with electricity for a guaranteed 11 hours a day."
This is a really simple clever idea and it struck me that it's great for places without much wind, tidal, hydro or solar potential. It's important not to cause food shortages by turning over land that could otherwise be used for food production to biomass production - but if the land is not suitable for food production anyway, this can be a great use.
There's an exciting local development near us - we have some ancient woodlands in the place where I live. There's a regeneration plan for the area and I started wondering if we couldn't do something similar with the timber products from managing the woodland. I asked a few people and discovered that a CHP plant using the biomass from this area and the neighbouring area has been sketched into our neighbourhood development plan. I mentioned it in my IMAGINE1 post