Renewable Cogen Asia has significant experience in the development of rice husk power plant and cogeneration plant projects in Asia and Africa with a cumulative capacity of over 50 MWe.
Rice husk power generation is not a new technology, although rice husk is a difficult biomass fuel when compared with wood and bagasse. In Asia, the growth of rice husk power plant projects started in mid 90's. Today, more than two hundred rice husk power plants are in operation and several projects are under various stages of development and implementation in Asia.
From the technological perspective, in the last 10 years, significant improvements have been achieved and today the plants are fully automated. Also, due to the technological improvements, the efficiency of the boiler and the power plants has improved.
From the commercial angle, there is a considerable reduction in the total investment cost. This cost reduction is mainly due to the competition among 20 proven rice husk boiler suppliers, who have mastered the technology.
The most commonly used technology in Southeast Asia is travelling grate and reciprocating step grate system. In India, FBC system is widely used along with other technologies.
Rice husk price is very high (up to 60 USD/ton) in several parts of Asia. However in some parts, still it is dumped without proper usage. These places are ideal for installation of power plants since there is zero or low rice husk price. We come across such situations in several parts of Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, other Asian countriesand Africa.
With advancement of technology, some of the power plants produce high quality ash and it is exported to Europe, Japan, Korea and other countries (price as high as 400 USD/ton). We have also come across projects, where the focus is more on rice husk ash than power. This solves the ash disposal problem, as the rice husk contains up to 20% ash.
We have worked with several rice husk power plant projects around the globe with sizes ranging from 450 kW to 22 MW. With careful and innovative project development, implementation and operation approaches, it is possible to reduce the overall project cost by around 20 to 30% thereby leading to considerable increase in IRR.
Rice husk is a difficult biomass fuel compared to wood and bagasse, due to high silica content in rice husk ash. The most commonly used technologies in Asia are travelling grate system, reciprocating step grate system and fluidized bed combustion (FBC) system. Cyclonic combustion system and circulated fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) system are also used.
Rice husk ash is mainly used in the steel industry as an insulator in the manufacture of high quality steel forgings. This allows forged steel to cool down gradually. As high quality ash is required for this purpose, the price of rice husk ash is quite high at the steel plant gate level (as high as 400 USD/ton). The density, unburnt carbon content and moisture content of rice husk ash should be as low as possible.
Rice husk ash is also used in cement industries as a substitute to portland cement. Research work is also going on regarding using rice husk ash for silica chip manufacture as the silica content of the ash is very high. Boiler suppliers who can guarantee high quality rice husk ash are in demand.
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