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Sustainable bioenergy for India: Technical, economic and policy analysis

Ravindranath, NH and Balachandra, R (2009) Sustainable bioenergy for India: Technical, economic and policy analysis. In: Energy, 34 (8). pp. 1003-1013.

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India's energy challenges are multi-pronged. They are manifested through growing demand for modern energy carriers, a fossil fuel dominated energy system facing a severe resource crunch, the need for creating access to quality energy for the large section of deprived population, vulnerable energy security, local and global pollution regimes and the need for sustaining economic development. Renewable energy is considered as one of the most promising alternatives. Recognizing this potential, India has been implementing one of the largest renewable energy programmes in the world. Among the renewable energy technologies. bioenergy has a large diverse portfolio including efficient biomass stoves, biogas, biomass combustion and gasification and process heat and liquid fuels. India has also formulated and implemented a number of innovative policies and programmes to promote bioenergy technologies. However, according to some preliminary studies, the success rate is marginal compared to the potential available. This limited success is a clear indicator of the need for a serious reassessment of the bioenergy programme. Further, a realization of the need for adopting a sustainable energy path to address the above challenges will be the guiding force in this reassessment. In this paper an attempt is made to consider the potential of bioenergy to meet the rural energy needs: (I) biomass combustion and gasification for electricity; (2) biomethanation for cooking energy (gas) and electricity; and (3) efficient wood-burning devices for cooking. The paper focuses on analysing the effectiveness of bioenergy in creating this rural energy access and its sustainability in the long run through assessing: the demand for bioenergy and potential that could be created; technologies, status of commercialization and technology transfer and dissemination in India; economic and environmental performance and impacts: bioenergy policies, regulatory measures and barrier analysis. The whole assessment aims at presenting bioenergy as an integral part of a sustainable energy strategy for India. The results show that bioenergy technology (BET) alternatives compare favourably with the conventional ones. The cost comparisons show that the unit costs of BET alternatives are in the range of 15-187% of the conventional alternatives. The climate change benefits in terms of carbon emission reductions are to the tune of 110 T C per year provided the available potential of BETs are utilized.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Energy
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd.
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier, 2009.
Keywords: Bioenergy technology; Technology transfer; Economic analysis; Climate change; Barriers
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2009 11:49
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 05:49
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/24228

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