Rice Husks + Innovation = Renewable Energy

India has been found to be particularly fertile ground for experimentation with renewable energy initiatives. The latest version of Ernst & Young’s “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index” reaffirms this fact, ranking India as the third most attractive market for renewable energy investment:

India’s rise to third overall … has been precipitated by excellent national and regional government support for both foreign and local investment in renewable technologies. Consequently, rapid growth is expected to continue in this market.

The report goes on to note that “installed renewables capacity in India – currently standing at 8GW – is now expected to double every five years, and is forecast to reach 20GW by 2012, twice the government’s target.”

One new venture in this space is Husk Power Systems, which aims to “provide power to millions of rural Indians in a financially sustainable, scalable, environmentally friendly, and profitable manner.” Starting with villages in Bihar, HPS has developed a viable business model for generating power from agricultural residue, namely rice husks. How does the system work?

The organization has developed a distributed power supply and distribution system that uses 35-100kW “mini power- plants” in villages of 200-500 households within the Indian “Rice Belt” and offers electricity as a pay-for-use service.

In addition to power generation, rice husks have additional income-generation utility, as 1) the ash produced by burning the rice husks can be “converted into a valuable ingredient for cement production,” and 2) the rice husk generators can potentially be paid for reducing carbon emissions through a trading program established by the Kyoto Protocol. The result, then, according to innovators Ransler and Sinha, is the multi-fold:

Even with conservative electricity consumption, revenue from the three sources would allow each rice husk generator to break even in about two and a half years, and it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 200 tons per year, per village. Furthermore, explained Ransler, a lack of reliable electricity is one of the biggest obstacles to small business growth in rural India, so providing a village with rice-husk power can be the enabler of a dozen other small business ventures.

What can we expect from the future? Currently, there are 2 villages in Bihar operating on the HPS model, with plans to expand to 20 villages in 2008, 100 in 2009, and 2500 by 2013.

Source: Rural Development of India


11 Responses

  1. […] also touched on a new venture using rice husks for renewable […]

  2. i want to start power production unit in west
    bengal througt paddy husk base for power supply to general publick

  3. I am looking for this kind of alternative and being from Rice belt, in India, would be very much interested in getting to know more on the technology and how it can be utilised. I am open for the possibilities this can create for power hungry people in the area where 8-12 hours of the daily power is normally off.

  4. want to start power production unit in west
    bengal througt paddy husk base for power supply to general publick

  5. I want to produce ethanol from rice gusk and want to use in vehicles so will u help me

  6. please i am open to ideas on how to produce ethanol from rice husk. please i will be glad if you help as i have access to more than abundant rice husk in my village and i understand that there is a technology for production.

  7. salam brother.
    Actually im in final year so i selected for thesis topic is energy resources from rice husk/hull so if u have any knnolege about it plz saire with me

    • Hello
      I am from India and doing my master thesis in UK on rice husk power plant. Any help would be great.

      Kind Regards

  8. […] covered another unique way of converting vegetation to energy via rice husks. There is tremendous potential to scale up with these plants, and DESI Power is already operating […]

  9. cal chup

  10. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and
    starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to
    work on. You have done a marvellous job!

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