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Melia dubia wood based Biomas Gassifier Electricity Production

Prof. Dr. G. Kumaravelu,

Formerly Indian Forest Service Officer,
Presently Full Time Member,
State Planning Commission,
Government of Tamil Nadu,
Chennai-600 005.

Indian Prime Ministers `Advisory Council on Climate Change’ has

The overview of the NAPCC clearly states that “our approach must be
compatible with our role as a responsible and enlightened member of the
international community, ready to make our contribution to the solution of a
global challenge, which impacts humanity as a whole.
The NAPCC has a separate Mission. The first being the solar energy
mission with plans to set up approximately 20,000 MW of solar capacity by
2020. This is clearly a deviation from business as usual, because India has
promoted only coal based thermal or Hydro power on this scale.
One major objective of this National Action Plan is to attain energy
security. India would be importing 750 million tones of oil by the year 2031
and 400 million tonne of coal. We, as a nation, would therefore be very

vulnerable to increase in the price of oil as well as coal. Where there to be a
sharp increase in the oil prices, such as that over a year ago, when they
reached 147 per Barrel, the Indian economy would get battered severely. In
some respects, therefore NAPCC should be seen as making a virtue of
A number of small island states and vulnerable nations in Africa look at
INDIA as a part of problem and not of the solution to the global warming.

Melia dubia (Malai Vembu) is a very fast growing tree species and selection
by TNFD has brought to focus ‘plus trees’ that exhibit outstanding growth.
These are in the process of being cloned, which could result in raising very high
yielding, up to 60 tonnes/act/year, plantations.

Data collected from the plantation raised at the Forest Research

Centre is cited below to indicate the yield potential.

Date of Planting : Febraury 2008 20 Months old
Date of Harvest : November 2009 Weight: 70 Kg per tree 47 cm girth

High Yielding Clones

Capable of producing

50 tonnes/acre/year to 60 tonnes/acre/year

Dry weight after 15 days of the 47 cm gbh tree has become 67 Kg

from 70 Kg recorded at the time of harvest.(under unirrigated condition)

In a farmer’s field, under irrigated condition, at 3m X 3m espacement with

interplanting of casuarina, Melia dubia tree has grown to 45 cm gbh with a

total weight of 55kgs in one year.

The author estimating the espacement by studying the root architecture

Clones of these plus trees are being produced, through vegetative

• @ 2 X 1.5m espacement 1333 trees can be planted.
• @ 40 kg. Per tree after 1 years 50 tonnes (approximately)/year
• For 1 MW Power generation 9000 Tonnes required / year
• @ 50 tonnes / year to 180 to 200 Acres to be planted.
Yield 9000 tonnes
• For 2 MW production 400 acres to be planted and drip
• 5000 places in Tamil Nadu distributed all over the State in 32 districts.for
10,000 MW production, 5000 x 400 Acre = 20 lakh acres only will be
required, out of the total 145 lakh acres of cultivable lands in Tamil Nadu.
• 2 MW = 400 acres = 2 Acre each =200 Farmers

Cost of 1 MW =Rs. 6 crores(approximately)
• For Melia dubia grower sale of 50 tonnes. wood
@ Rs.2000 / ton will ensure Rs.1 lakh income per year
• For the Mill :
Cost of Production : Rs2.50
Cost of selling electricity : Rs.4.50/unit
~ Minimum Profit / day Unit : Re.2
Electricity production 48,000 unit per day,
Break even in 3rd year.
PPP model involving Melia dubia cultivating farmers will not only ensure
sustainable availability of biomass to the biomass gassifier company but also will
assure handsome profit to the farmers and the company. This will become an
economically, ecologically, environmentally and aesthetically appealing venture
for the nation. This is a Carbon neutral activitiy.The activated charcoal which will
be a by-product of this green electricity production could also be used for carbon
farming, industrial uses etc. Activated charcoal also has a great demand both in
India and abroad. That also can add to the profitability. .
Even such units to produce 1000 MW are established in the coming first
two years, success of this model, will automatically catalyse the setting up of
such units all over the State. Since the producer and users are the same people,
steady, uninterrupted supply of wood could be ensured. Since this is a win-win
situation has the capacity to get replicated to more than 5000(2 MW units) to
10000 (1 MW units) to produce 10,000 MW electricity.
Unlike the production of electricity through Hydroelectrical and wind power
which are dependent on the vagaries of nature, this wood based Biomass
gassifier electricity generation could be run all through the year without
The added advantage of the power system is that farmers will be getting
the power without interruption, which will increase the food production.
Also, transmission loss of electricity, now incurred, could be eliminated.

It is pertinent to point out at this juncture, the emission of 70,000 tonnes of
CO2 per day by NLC (250 lakh lakh tones of CO2 per year) in the process of
producing 2450 MW of electricity per day using Lignite as raw material. In Tamil
Nadu, a total production of 5000MW is based on coal or lignite burning which
results in emission of about 500 lakh tons of CO2 per year.
The proposed Melia dubia Biomass based Gassifier electric production,
5000 to 10000 MW capacity, will result in Zero CO2 emission. Apart from this,
the change over to renewable resource which is exhaustible and environmentally
catastrophic is the crying need of the day. Tilling, not Drilling, Biology not
Geology. This will be a trendsetter for swinging back from Hydrocarbon economy
to Carbohydrate economy.
This could be one of the most needed Global Warming induced climate
change mitigation strategies for Tamil Nadu.