Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Arne Jacobson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Steven Hackett

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Peter Alstone

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Systems


This study assessed the feasibility of mobilizing rice straw (paddy residues) for small scale (250kW) bioenergy applications in India by establishing sustainable residue removal rates and cost of supply values for two production regions (Punjab and Haryana). A key objective was to refine the methodology for estimating costs for collection and transportation of rice straw harvesting for bioenergy use. The delivered cost of rice straw retrieved from one hectare of land and transported 10 km to the power plant has been estimated at INR 2.05 (USD 0.03) per kg. Various technological options have been explored for electricity generation from rice straw, and it was found that a gasifier with an internal combustion engine designed to operate on 100% producer gas is the suitable option for installing a 250kW grid connected power plant. The average power purchase agreement (PPA) price in India varies from INR 6.50 to INR 7.50 for biomass gasification based power plant, but at the price the proposed system is not economically viable. In order to assess what PPA price would be required for financial viability INR 9 has been assumed, which is higher prices than the market rate in the analysis. At an assumed power purchase price of electricity of INR 9.0 per kWh, the results give an IRR of 22% with positive net present value of the 10-year lifetime in Scenario 1 (with MNRE capital subsidy of INR 15,000/kW). For scenario 2 (without subsidy), at the same PPA price, the IRR value is 15%, and the lifetime net present value remains positive. The findings of this research can be utilized by policy makers and power utilities for policy recommendations and business models, respectively, for the development of small scale rice straw based grid-connected power plant across rice-producing states. It is estimated in the study that the deployment of rice straw gasification-based systems is likely to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in India by about 605 tCO2e per 250 kW power plant due to avoided emissions associated with the Indian national electricity grid mix. Further, if 15,000 such plants are installed, then these plants will save approximately 514,000 tCO2e emissions per year due to open field burning on top of the avoided emissions from displacing power in the national grid mix. Additionally, establishing sustainable rice straw supply systems in Indian can lead to positive socio-economic change in rural areas of India.

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