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assumed, with no inter-district transport.) If the conventional technology coal-fired power plant is used for comparison, only in one district (Mangalore) and only for SO2 would the increased use of existing captive generation be a worse option than the centralised option. If the advanced technology coal-fired power plant is used for comparison, then lower SO2, NOx or particulate emissions can be expected in 9 out of 17 districts considered. Increases in SO2 emissions due to increased capacity utilisation of diesel captive plants in the Mangalore division is a matter of particular concern because the division is located upwind of a region with relatively high acid rain potential.

Increased statewide diesel particulate emissions due to increased captive used would, however, be about 27% of existing diesel particulate emissions due to transport operations. This presents a serious increase in fine particulate emissions that could have longer atmospheric lifetimes and therefore be likely to disperse across districts.

A final option considered was to retrofit emission controls for captive power plants at an additional cost of Rs 9000/kW to reduce emissions by 80%. This option was found to be up to 30% more cost-effective statewide for SO2 reduction and between about 10-96% cheaper for NOx and particulate reductions in individual districts compared with either of the centralised options.

Local resource constraints (water, land), other pollution effects (groundwater, surface runoff), and biodiversity concerns that arise due to fuel-handling and evacuation of power were not considered in this analysis. In addition, concentration and exposure modelling was not carried out even for air emissions.

Small-scale biomass fuel cell/gas turbine power systems for rural areas

Sivan Kartha, Thomas G. Kreutz, and Robert H. Williams

Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA 08544

1. Introduction

The use of small-scale diesel generators fired with gasi- fied biomass and pilot oil for rural applications is growing [Kumar, 1997; Singh, 1996; Turnbull et al., 1996]. These systems are simple and low in cost, but because they have low thermodynamic efficiency (~25%[1] at a scale of ~100 kW), their use is limited to low-cost biomass feedstocks such as agricultural residues and gathered fuelwood. Dedicated biomass energy crops could potentially be a


This paper is a revised version of a note prepared for a workshop organised by the Inter- national Energy Initiative on Integrating Captive Generation and the Karnataka Grid, De- cember 19, 1997, Bangalore. The authors are grateful to Rick Booth, Pablo Cicero-Fernandez, Amulya Reddy, Vikram Reddy, J. Srinivasan and Warren White and for their comments on earlier drafts of the paper.


1. A division is an administrative unit of a state that groups together several districts. Mangalore division contains Dakshina Kannaada, Uttara Kannada and Kodagu districts.


Chief Electrical Inspectorate (CEI), 1997. Details of Captive Generation, Year ending March 31, 1996, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore.

Danida, 1994. Managing Sustainable Development – Experience from Preparation of an Environmental Management Plan for Dakshina Kannada District, India, Danida-DFEE, Man- galore.

Department of Health (DOH), Government of UK, 1995. Report on Particulate Standards to Committee on Environmental Effects of Air Pollutants, Government of UK.

Divakar, C.V., 1996. ‘‘Using the long-run marginal cost pricing principle for Karnataka’s power sector’’, Energy for Sustainable Development, Vol. III, No. 4, pp. 43-52, November.

Environmental Manual, 1995. Environmental Manual for Power Plants, prepared by Oeko Institut for GTZ, Darmstadt.

Guitterez, L., 1995. ‘‘How do Sub-Saharan African utilities compare?’’, Symposium on Power Sector Reform and Efficiency Improvement in Sub-Saharan Africa, Johannesburg, December 5-8, ESMAP, Washington, DC.

Health Effects Institute (HEI), 1996. An Investigation of DNA Damage in the Lungs of Rats Exposed to Diesel Exhaust, Cambridge.

International Energy Initiative (IEI), 1997. Meeting on Integrating Captive Generation and the Karnataka Grid, presentations by G. Srikanth, Regional Manager, Hindustan Powerplus Limited, Bangalore, and D.G. Kamath, General Manager, Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited, Chennai, Bangalore, December 19.

Karnataka Power Corporation (KPC), 1997. Private communication. Kirloskar Power Corporation (KiPC), 1997. Private communication.

Reddy, A.K.N., and Sumithra, G.D., 1997. ‘‘Karnataka’s power sector – some revelations’’, Economic and Political Weekly, XXXII (12), pp. 585-600.

Rubin, E.S., 1989. ‘‘Implications of future environmental regulations of coal-based electric power’’, in J.M. Hollander, Ann. Rev. Energy 14, 19.

TERI Energy Data Directory and Handbook (TEDDY), 1997. Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 1997. Energy After Rio: Prospects and Challenges, UNDP, New York, pp. 42-44.

much larger resource, but their higher cost means that they can be economically viable only if a technology is developed that is significantly more energy-efficient than existing technologies, yet still sufficiently low in cost. This paper presents an analysis of a technology that has good prospects for satisfying these criteria – a power sys- tem consisting of a biomass gasifier coupled to a fuel cell and a micro-turbine bottoming cycle.

In this system the gasifier is commercial technology, the micro-turbine is nearing commercial readiness, and the fuel cell is still under development but expected to be commercially available at the scale needed for the pre- sent application in less than five years [Penner et al., 1995]. The micro-turbine and the fuel cell are high-tech pieces of equipment used to date mainly in aerospace and military applications, so they may appear to be poorly suited to rural power generation. However, recent cost- cutting and performance-enhancing advances have made them highly attractive for commercial applications in transportation and distributed generation, where low cost and simple design are important.

Energy for Sustainable Development Volume IV No. 1 June 2000


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