It pays to go green, as India’s small cement manufacturers are discovering. Badarpurghat (Assam)-based cement maker Barak Valley Cements is generating power from a biomass-based thermal power plant that uses rice husk as fuel. Barak Valley’s subsidiary Badarpur Energy has set up a 6 mw biomass-based power plant to meet the power requirements. The plant will produce 1050 tonnes daily, post expansion, from February 2008.
Barak Valley will save Rs 10 crore, or roughly 50 per cent, on its power bills, said chairman Bijay Garodia. It will be able to generate power from rice husk at Rs 2.20 as against its average cost of Rs 5.50-6.00 a unit. The power utility, Asssam State Electricity Board, supplies power at Rs 3.90 a unit, while it costs Rs 10 a unit to produce captive power using DG sets. This pushes its average cost of power to Rs 5.50-6.00 a unit.
Garodia has invested Rs 30 crore to set up the 6 mw power plant and hopes to recover the investment in 3-4 years. What’s more, Garodia will earn nearly Rs 1 crore in the next ten years by trading carbon credits for reducing emissions. The biomass-based thermal plant will use rice husk and bamboo, which is
available in plenty. "The local economy will get a boost as money will be made on agri waste," said Garodia, who’s based in Kolkata. Many small cement makers across the Chittoor region in Andhra Pradesh are using biomass-based thermal power plants (10-12 mw), with rice husk as a fuel.