Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Melia dubia for Biomass power production:

Dear friends,

"...Treat wood on par with food"...,

"...change from 'Hydrocarbon economy' to 'Carbohydrate economy'.."

"...Fast woods better than Fast foods"

"...Civilizations flourish in fertile soils' and diminish in depleted soils'.."  

"...policies to lift 'Primary sector' from the 'Tread mill' and place on 'Escalator',

"...cultivation and utilization of trees as an economically viable, ecologically    empathetic, environmentally ameliorative and aesthetically acceptable..." 

By now you might have guessed the person who cleverly uses the likes of above keywords and key phrases to deliver a punch to get the attention of the listeners. He is none other then our Dr.G.Kumaravelu, former Indian Forest service Officer and a well known Forest and tree scientist in India. 

He is the person who introduced Melia dubia for economical upliftment of farmers and the main driving force to popularize the concept of using Melia dubia for biomass power generation.
Trees suitable for biomass power generation should have the following characteristics: Fast growing, drought tolerance, tolerance to grow in all types soil, coppice capability, short gestation period of 2-3 years, with high calorific value, less ash content Etc.,

Casuarina junghuhniana, Casuarina equestifolia, Eucalyptus, Melia dubia, Leucaena leucocephala (Subapul), Prosopis juliflora (Seemai karuvel / Vaeli karuvel in Tamil), Bamboo are viable source of feedstock for combustible type Biomass power plants.

Some major companies, who have established their units in Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts with the intention of using Prosopis Juliflora which is seen almost everywhere in Tamil Nadu, as their main biomass material are feeling the pinch now with the high cost and non availability of feedstock. It is not an exaggeration to mention here that many of the biomass power plants had become economically unviable and had to be shut. 

The time has now come for them to establish energy plantations, announcing  'Minimum Support Price' and entering into 'Buy back agreements' to infuse confidence among the farmers.

According to Dr.G.Kumaravelu, Melia dubia (Malai Vembu in Tamil, Hebbevu in Kannada, Konda Veppa in Telugu) is the right choice for establishing large scale energy plantations because of it's excellent utility value as Biomass fuel with good Calorific value of 5,043 - 5,176 Kcal / Kg., lesser ash content of 2.88% and higher fixed carbon content.

Electricity production in Biomass Gasifier / Combustion using 'Melia dubia':
  • Spacing @1.5x1.5m...........-  1740 Plants / Acre.
  • Yield @ 50 Kg/tree after 2 years - 87 Tonnes/Acre/irrigated & fertigated.
  • Yield per year...................-  44 Tonnes /Acre / Year
  • 1MW production................-  24 Tonnes/Day. (Roughly 2Kg for 1 unit)
  • For 365 days.....................-  8760 Tonnes/Year. (Approx.9000 T)
  • If the yield is 50 T/Acre/Year, than for continuous feedstock availability 360 acres (180 acres x 2) of Melia should be planted.
  • Viability: 10 MW plant. So, 3600 acres are to be planted.
  • Profit for farmer:87TxRs.2000=Rs.1.74 Lakh /2 years (-) cultivation + Drip + Fertilizers + Harvest cost Rs.0.74= Rs.1.00 L (i.e) Rs.0.50/year.
  • Cost of production for the mill: Rs.3.50 per unit.
  • Cost of selling electricity - Rs.4.50 per unit.
  • Minimum profit for the company (per unit) - Rs.1.00 
This meagre profit to the power producer is due to the wrong calculation adopted by the Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency when fixing power purchase rate. The agency estimated the biomass cost at Rs.1000 per ton whereas the  present actual cost is around Rs.2500 / Ton.

Apart from sales, the other benefits being enjoyed by the companies are capital subsidy, selling the byproducts  - Biochar and Activated charcoal, availing carbon credit under CDM and the subsidy from Department of Non-conventional Energy.

All is well for the producers and to the power buyers because they are getting  cheap subsidy and power at cheap rate respectively.

All is not well to the farmers since companies are still offering Minimum Support Price of only Rs.1800/Ton/at farm gate even for contract farming (Click the Link:FCRI- Market Current Prices).

Need of the hour is for the Government to take into account the interests of the farmers and fix a reasonable Minimum Support Price on the lines of 'Sugarcane Pricing' every year. In the present chaotic power scenario, our Govt. can also directly participate in the "Power from Biomass programme" like its decision to participate in the ethanol programme of Sugar Industry.

By announcing more procurement price for the feedstock and a reasonable price for the Power produced by the companies, our Govt. will not only solve the present power crisis but also will bring back smiles to the majority voters (sic) farmers.

A.Vishnu Sankar

8 Comentários:

Dr.G.Kumaravelu, APCCF (Retd) said...

Thanks Mr.Visnu,

I have been watching your constant interaction with tree growers through internet.

Since i do not have time as i am very slow in typing, and now no office, i am not able to interact through internet.

Keep it up. May be you can help me in making my ideas to reach growers through you.

Vishnu Sankar A said...

Respected Sir,

As a 'Sishya' waiting for his 'Guru's reply I had been anxiously waiting for your comment about my blog posts and very much happy to receive it today. Thanks sir.

It will be a big honor to assist you and I will be always there by your side to make your dreams true.

A.Vishnu Sankar

Raghu Ram Sampada Farms & Consultants HYDERABAD said...

Really it is very appreciaable and great job of Sri Dr. G. Kumarvelu in promoting Melia dubia for a proper cause.

I sincerely say that due to him only, it got its value. Sri Vishnu Sankar by providing information on varisous forest crops, he is helping the farming community. He is guiding the people by giving actual figures and values.

We know many people who are promising 3 to 4 millions on various timber crops. Mr. Sankar, by giving true information, he is doing a lot of good things.

As the leading agri consultants of the country, we know what this two people are doing. Both 'Guru' & 'Sishya' are Great!

Raghu Ram
Sampada Farms & Consultants

Vishnu Sankar A said...

Thanks for your comment Mr.Raghuram. I used to read your posts in various agricultural portals. They are informative.

A.Vishnu Sankar

Dr.K.Suresh, Prof & Head, Dept of Agroforestry, FC&RI said...

Dear Vishnu shankar

Thank you for the mail and kindling my thinking on the matter you have mailed to me.

Now after two years i would like to know the results of Melia dubia intercropped with C.junghuhniana before i can comment.

The spacing should depend on the end use of the trees you grow.

With regard to your concept on Biomass energy i also go with you that conserving our soil health is of great importance to sustain crop production.Tree plantation should come up on waste and wasted lands to meet the industrial requirements for energy production.

I have my own reservation on the calorific value of Melia dubia .I will let you know about this in a few days.

Thanking you
Dr.K.K.Suresh, Prof & Head, Dept. of Agroforestry, Forest College & Research Institute, Mettupalayam 641 003, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Vishnu Sankar,

Thank You for your valuable information and appreciate for giving vast information on agricultural practices..Keep it up and Best wishes for future endeavour.


Prakash Rao,

Unknown said...

Very informing article. I want to start farming in around 15 acres of land situated in MP and Maharashtra. Involved in business so not possible for yearly farming. Expecting to plant some tree which can give returns in 5-7 years which doesnt require much of a care

Anonymous said...

I wish to plant malai vembu for about 3 acres in Cheyyar Taluk ( now it is Vembakkam Taluk) of Thiruvannamalai District having reasonably good water source. I can be an inabsentia farmer. I would like to know how many trees can be planted and when it could be harvested. Where the nurseries can be obtained. Thank you.

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