Rice husk to power is not a new technology, although rice husk is a difficult biomass fuel compared with wood and bagasse. A power plant in Thailand is in continuous operation for past 30 years.
In Southeast Asia, the growth in rice husk power plant projects started in mid 90’s. Two rice husk power projects implemented in Thailand changed the whole outlook of industry. Project developers in Southeast Asia gained confidence by visiting these projects. Today, there are several projects under various stages of development and implementation.
From the technological perspective, for the last 10 years, very good improvements have been achieved and today the plants are fully automated. These days, the efficiency of the boiler and the overall efficiency of the power plants are very good for well designed plants.
From the commercial angle, there was a considerable reduction in the total investment cost. It is mainly due to the competition of about 10 boiler suppliers around the world, who have mastered the technology.
Using the CDM revenue, in most of the cases, it is worth going in for rice husk power generation, as the project IRR is attractive. However, you need to have a good control over long term supply of rice husk. In some project situations, the projects are viable even without CDM.
The most commonly used technology in Southeast Asia is traveling grate and reciprocating step grate system. However, in India, FBC system is widely used along with other technologies.
Most common plant size ranges from 2 MW to 10 MW but today 22 MW size capacities are also available in Thailand. Efforts were made to develop 50 MW size plant, but due to the problem of fuel security, that project did not materialise. A 30 MW power plant was studied in Philippines and it also didn’t materialise due to fuel collection and transportation issues.
The rice husk price is very high (up to 40 USD/ton) in several parts of Asia. Still it is dumped in several places. These places are ideal for installation of power plants due to low rice husk price and additional CER revenues from decay. We came across such situations in several parts of Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Africa and other Asian countries.
With advancement of technology, some of the projects produce high quality ash and it is exported to Europe, Japan, Korea and other countries (price as high as 400 USD/ton). We came across some projects, where the focus is more on rice husk ash than power. This solves the ash disposal problem, as rice husk contains up to 20% ash.
These days, ultra modern power plants are being installed in Southeast Asia with lot of environmental protection measures, which are at par with developed countries.
We have worked with several rice husk projects around the globe with sizes ranging from 450 kW to 22 MW. Refer our recent publication section for additional information on rice husk to power.
If careful and innovative project development, implementation and operation approach, tactics, strategies are followed from the beginning stage itself then it’s possible to reduce the overall project cost to around 20 to 30 percentage thereby it’s possible to increase the IRR considerably. For services related to rice husk to power, contact us.