Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh on Tuesday launched the Green Charcoal Hackathon, which would focus on deliberating on technology to convert farm residue into green charcoal.
Singh launched the Green Charcoal Hackathon with a vision to create a conducive environment by reducing carbon emissions and nurture technology solutions in India, the power ministry said in a statement.
The Hackathon has been organised by state-owned Energy Efficiency Service Ltd and NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam), a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-owned power giant NTPC Ltd.
Singh in the statement said, "The Hackathon displays the spirit of innovation, which pervades NTPC. Any organisation has to have this spirit of innovation to grow and prosper or otherwise it would fade away. I am sure that the NTPC management has told all young engineers that innovation and new ideas are encouraged."
The purpose of the event is to leverage the innovative Indian mind to bridge the technology gap, with the objective to clean air by eliminating farm fire and producing renewable energy out of the agro residue.
The minister also said, "This (Hackathon) is also innovation in the pursuit of reducing our carbon footprint. From that point of view, all competitors in the Hackathon should keep in mind that the process of converting this (agro residue) to charcoal should not lead to emissions."
He further added that another key thing is the commercial model, which will depend on the cost of both the machine and charcoal production.
NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh said in the statement, "Power plants are the biggest consumers of coal. Typically, a 1,000-MW plant consumes about 5 million tonnes of coal annually."
He added that India's total coal-based power generation capacity is about 2 lakh MW, which theoretically can consume about 1,000 million tonnes of coal annually.
Singh said that even 10 per cent of that, if replaced with green charcoal, will require about 160 million tonnes of agro residue and municipal waste. It will be sufficient to wipe out the entire unused agro residue in the country, thus eliminating the farm fires, and produce about 20,000 MW of renewable power and generating a revenue worth Rs 50,000 crore per year, he added.
The increasing air pollution due to the burning of stubble and agro residue by local farmers has become a major concern for the country.
NVVN is looking for technologies to convert the agricultural waste to a form that can be used in the power plants. One such option is torrefaction which converts the agro residue to green charcoal.