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Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration for a

Rice Mill with Power Export—A Case Study

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M Abdul Mujeebu M.Z. Abdullah

University of Dammam University of Science Malaysia


Ashok Sas
National Institute of Technology Calicut


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Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects

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Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration for a Rice Mill with Power

Export—A Case Study
M. A. Mujeebua; M. Z. Abdullaha; S. Ashokb
School of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Nibong Tebal,
Penang, Malaysia b Department of Electrical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Calicut,
Kerala, South India

Online publication date: 18 February 2011

To cite this Article Mujeebu, M. A. , Abdullah, M. Z. and Ashok, S.(2011) 'Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration for a
Rice Mill with Power Export—A Case Study', Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects,
33: 8, 724 — 734
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/15567030903226298


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ISSN: 1556-7036 print/1556-7230 online
DOI: 10.1080/15567030903226298

Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration for a

Rice Mill with Power Export—A Case Study


School of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains
Downloaded By: [Mujeebu, M. Abdul][Universiti Sains Malaysia] At: 14:50 18 February 2011

Malaysia, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia

Department of Electrical Engineering, National Institute of Technology,
Calicut, Kerala, South India

Abstract Utilization of the husk-fueled cogeneration system to meet the requirement

of thermal and electrical needs enhances the energy efficiency and production capacity
of rice mills. This will not only result in considerable savings but also leads to a
sustainable supply of electricity and additional revenue from the surplus electricity
generated from saved rice husk. This article presents a case study that was conducted
in a South Indian rice mill in order to study the technical and economic feasibility of
implementing a steam turbine-based cogeneration with an option for power export.
In the proposed scheme, the existing boiler will be replaced by a new one of higher
capacity. By means of a steam turbine topping cycle, electricity is generated and the
turbine exhaust steam is utilized for heating applications. It has been found that the
introduction of cogeneration will enhance the rice production by a minimum of 30
tons per day. Furthermore, the proposed system in its full time operation could yield
an annual savings of about INR 4 million ($0.12 m) compared to the existing facility
and the additional investment would be paid back within a period of three years.

Keywords husk to paddy ratio, power export, rice mill, steam turbine cogeneration

1. Introduction
Cogeneration, which is also known as combined heat and power (CHP), is the sequential
generation of two different forms of useful energy, typically mechanical and thermal, from
a single fuel input. Substantial research has been carried out in the area of implementing
CHP to various process industries and commercial establishments.
A study by Purohit and Michaelowa (2007) assessed the potential of clean develop-
ment mechanism (CDM) of bagasse cogeneration in India. A similar study for Indonesia
is reported by Restuti and Michaelowa (2007). Smouse et al. (1998) presented a case
study for cogeneration with power export in an Indian sugar industry. By establishing the
availability and costs of various biomass fuels in Fiji, a 25 kW cogeneration system for
the utilization of such wastes was proposed by Prasad (1990). A technical and economic
feasibility study for a natural gas fueled cogeneration plant was conducted by Fantozzi
et al. (2000) in an Italian pasta and animal feed factory. Berglin and Berntsson (1998)

Address correspondence to Dr. M. A. Mujeebu, School of Mechanical Engineering, En-

gineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Nibong Tebal, Penang 14300, Malaysia. E-mail:

Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration 725

had presented a thermodynamic analysis to study the feasibility of adopting black liquor
gasification as an alternative to the conventional heat recovery systems for a cogeneration
scheme in a pulp industry. Uran (2006) had developed a model for thermo-economic
analysis and optimization of cogeneration and no cogeneration as applied to a Croatian
wood-processing industry. In the study of Biezma and Cristo (2006), three evaluation
methods; net present value, internal rate of return, and payback period are applied to the
selection between two CHP units for a tire factory in Spain. Oh et al. (2007) presented
an optimal planning for gas turbine cogeneration system to find whether the adoption of
the system to an office building or hotel in Seoul, Korea is profitable or not.
Duval (2001) presented estimates of the environmental benefits of biomass cogener-
ation technologies introduced by the food and agro-industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, and Thailand. In a recent study, Mujeebu et al. (2009) focused on a plywood
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industry in south India and found that adoption of a steam turbine cogeneration scheme
could yield attractive saving in annual operating cost and improve the thermal efficiency.
A few of the many other works include, study on cogeneration in a sugar factory by
Raghu Ram and Banerjee (2003), textile industry by Tang and Mohanty (1996), and
Palanichamy et al. (2001), an industrial park by Hsu (2002), pulp and paper mill by
Larson et al. (2002), and palm oil mill by Husain et al. (2003).
Few researchers have focused on implementation of cogeneration in rice processing
industries. An energy analysis was conducted by Wibulswas et al. (1994) on the steam
power plant of a large rice mill. They found that both husk-match and power-match
power generation systems were economically feasible. Mathematical models for the
estimation of primary energy demand for parboiling and milling of paddy in India had
been proposed by Kapur et al. (1997). They also investigated the feasiblity of dual-fuel
engine based CHP using husk gasification, for Indian rice mills (Kapur et al., 1998).
They showed that a substantial proportion of the energy demand of rice processing
could be met by the exploitation of the energy potential of husk. Rajamohan et al.
(2006) presented the thermal design concepts of a cogeneration plant using husk as
a fuel to generate the steam and electric power from the steam after using it in the
parboiling process in an Indian rice mill. A Thailand-based study by Ekasilp et al.
(1995) performed the energy analysis of rice mills to assess the potential of cogeneration.
Lacrosse and Shakya (2004) presented the details of implementation of a 2.5 MW
cogeneration plant cogeneration for a rice mill at Thailand. Senthil et al. (2004) presented
a feasibility study for incorporation of a cogeneration plant in a modern rice mill in India.
Sookkumnerd et al. (2005, 2007) investigated the financial feasibility of a husk-fueled
steam engine cogeneration system in Thailand with power export to the grid. Dalusung
III and Santos (2004) reported a cogeneration project in the Philippines that was granted
as one of the Full Scale Demonstration Projects for the third phase of the EC-ASEAN
Cogen3 Programme. Another study of the Philippines by Burritt et al. (2009) analyzed
carbonization and cogeneration as two processing alternatives to reduce environmental
and social impacts related to the conventional way of rice husk disposal and to improve
the overall performance of the rice mill.
Motivated by the need of more investigations in this area, the present analysis focused
on a par-boiled rice mill of South India, to assess the technical and economic viability of
a steam turbine-based captive power plant with cogeneration using rice husk as the fuel.
A primary analysis is made to assess the existing situation of the rice industry. Then, on
the basis of heat to power ratio (H:P) and detailed economic analysis, a steam turbine
cogeneration system is proposed as replacement for the present facility. The feasibility
of power export is also studied.
726 M. A. Mujeebu et al.

2. Indian Rice Mill Scenario

2.1. Availability of Rice Husk in India as an Energy Source

India is the world’s second biggest rice producing country after China (FAO, 2005), with
a share of about 21%. The rice production of leading rice producing countries countries
is shown in Table 1. Paddy, being the major cereal crop of India, covers an area of more
than 42.8 million hectares, the largest under any single crop. Indian rice milling industry
is the oldest and largest agro-based industry. The total number of rice mills in India in
1987 was 124,347 out of which 31,068 were modern rice mills (Nayak, 1996). The trend
of paddy production (P , million tons) in India over a period from 1971–1992 was used
to obtain a least squares regression fit for its time (t, years) variation, as represnted by
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Eq. (1) (Kapur et al., 1995):

P D 58:5 C 1:495t C 0:23t 1:5 (1)

If this trend is extrapolated, we expect about 173 million tons of paddy for the year 2010.
This prediction is almost consistent with the 2003 data of the Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO, 2005). Assuming an average husk-to-paddy ratio (HPR) of 0.22
(Beagle, 1981), the quantity of husk generated from the above quantity would be about 38
million tons. Paddy husk contains a large quantum of volatile matter. From this volatile
matter, thermal energy can be produced. One kg of paddy husk can produce energy
equivalent to 1.5 kg of coal and 1.0 kg of oil. Energy can be derived from husking in
two methods: (a) by burning it for running the boilers, and (b) by producing gas from
husk. It is estimated that 8,000 tons of husk can produce 1 MW of energy. So 38 million
tons of paddy husk can produce 4,750 MW energy!

2.2. Benefits from Burnt Husk

From the burnt husk, ash silicon can be retained. The silica content in burnt husk is nearly
91%. Amorphous silica can be retained if burnt husk is heated up to 700ı C. Pure silicon
is available from amorphous silica. This product has a large demand in the electronics
industry. Amorphous silica also has great demand in the export market for production of
clear energy. Apart from silicon, sodium and potassium silicate are also available from
burnt husk. These have applications in adhesive and detergent industries. In the biological
content of husk, furfural is available. Furfural can be used as a preservative in nylon and

Table 1
Leading rice producing countries, 2003

Country Productiona Country Productiona

China 162 Thailand 27

India 131 Myanmar 23
Indonesia 52 Philippines 13
Bangladesh 39 Brazil 10
Viet Nam 35 Japan 10
a Milliontonnes.
Source: FAO, 2005.
Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration 727

pharmaceutical products. From the residual husk, ash heat-resistant bricks can also be

3. The Case Study

3.1. About the Industry

Maruthi Rice Mill, the industry under case study, is a medium level unit in south India near
Bangalore city. The profile of the industry is summarized in Table 2. The steam is utilized
for the partial cooking of the rice paddy and to meet all of the drying requirements. The
fuel used is rice husk, which is available plenty as waste. The electricity is purchased
from the grid.
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3.2. The Electrical and Thermal Loads

Electrical load requirement for the industry is measured on an hourly basis for different
days in a month, starting from June 25, 2007, including holidays, salary day, days with
shortage of raw material and workers, etc., and the corresponding daily load curves are
plotted to obtain the average daily load curve for the month. This is repeated for about
ten months and an average daily load curve was finally obtained as shown in Figure 1. It
is estimated that the total electricity consumption of the rice mill is 135 MJ/ton of paddy
and the percentage distibution is shown in Figure 2. The thermal load requirement is
mainly for cooking, drying, and soaking. The total heating load was found to be almost
constant at the rate of 1,500 MJ/ton of paddy and percentage distribution to various
processes is shown in Figure 3.

3.3. Description of the Process

The sequence of processes involved in the conversion of paddy into clean and dry full
rice grains is shown schematically in Figure 4. The rice cooking, soaking, and drying
processes are not shown. The cooked and dried paddy from the sump is fed into the grain

Table 2
Details of Maruthi Rice Mill

Sl. no. Item Details

1 Type of mill Sheller, parboiling

2 Paddy as input 40 tons per day
3 Rice as output 33 tons per day
4 Type of boiler Fire tube (KVR) boiler
5 Boiler capacity 1 ton, 2.5 bars, sat. steam
6 Fuel consumption (rice husk) 0.4 T/h
7 Total workers 20
8 Land area 1 acre
9 Electricity demand 135 MJ/ton of paddy
10 Total heat demand 1,500 MJ/ton of paddy
11 Connected load High tension, 400 V, 65 A
728 M. A. Mujeebu et al.
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Figure 1. Electric load curve for an average day.

Figure 2. Distribution of electrical energy.

Figure 3. Thermal energy distribution.

Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration 729
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Figure 4. Process flow diagram of Maruthi Rice Mill.

cleaner-1 and then to cleaner-2 by means of elevators. Furthermore, it is fed to the rubber
shelling machine where the shells are removed. The rice and shells are then separated
from each other in the separator from where the un-shelled grains are fed back to the
shelling machine and the shelled rice is passed through alternate rice polishing and rice
cleaning machines. Finally, the broken rice is separated in a suitable separator and the
cleaned full rice is passed to the rice packing section. Apart from the process heating
requirement, at each stage of the process it is quite obvious that there is considerable use
of electricity also, thus, opening the scope for a cogeneration scheme.

4. The Methodology

4.1. Mathematical Relations

A steady state operation and linear behavior in the performance of a steam turbine boiler
and other equipment are assumed for all calculations. The following basic thermody-
namic relations are used for calculating relevant parameters, such as boiler capacity,
turbine work, heat input, fuel consumption, and energy utilization factor (of the proposed
cogeneration system):
Turbine work WT D ; (2)
t g
730 M. A. Mujeebu et al.

Table 3
Summary of the assumptions made

Sl. no. Item Details

1 Generator efficiency 80%

2 Turbine efficiency 80%
3 Overall boiler efficiency 70%
4 Annual operating hours 5,000 h
5 Calorific value of rice husk 15,000 kJ/kg
6 HPR 0.21
7 Electricity selling price INR 2.80/kWh (0.084 USD)
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where we D the total electrical power demand (known), t D mechanical efficiency of

the turbine, and g D generator efficiency.

Also turbine work WT D ms .h/; (3)

where h D the difference in specific enthalpy of the steam while expanding through
the turbine, and ms D the mass flow rate of steam.
The fuel consumption is calculated by using the following relations (3&4)

Heat input Qi D ; (4)
th c

where th D thermal efficiency of the plant and c D combustion efficiency.

Also heat input Qi D mf C V kW (5)

where mf D fuel consumption in kg/s, and C V D calorific value of fuel in kJ/kg.

Eth C Ee
The energy utilization factor of the cogeneration system D ; (6)

where Ee D energy utilization as electricity and Eth D thermal energy utilization.

Payback period D years: (7)
Annual Saving

The basic assumptions for the analysis are summarized in Table 3.

4.2. Heat to Power Ratio

Heat to power ratio (H:P) is defined as the ratio of thermal energy to electricity required
by the energy consuming facility. It can be expressed as: H:P D KWth /KWe , KWth D
the thermal load in KW and KWe D the electrical load in KW. The conventional data for
H:P and the expected overall efficiency of various cogeneration schemes are provided in
Table 4. Based on the classification in Table 4, a back pressure steam turbine cogeneration
is suitable for the industry as it has a heat power ratio of 11.0.
Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration 731

Table 4
H:P and efficiency for various cogeneration options

Heat-to-power Overall
Cogeneration system ratio efficiency, %

Back-pressure steam turbine 4.0–14.3 84–92

Extraction-condensing steam turbine 2.0–10.0 60–80
Gas turbine 1.3–2.0 70–85
Combined cycle 1.0–1.7 69–83
Reciprocating engine 1.1–2.5 75–85
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5. The Proposed Cogeneration System

In the proposed scheme, a steam turbine topping cycle is being suggested, which primarily
produces electricity and the turbine exhaust steam may be effectively utilized for heating
needs as shown in Figure 5. It is also proposed that the present sheller type rice mill shall
be replaced by a modern mill of higher capacity. As the electricity demand is fully met,
the industry becomes independent of the grid. According to the capacity of the proposed
system, it is found that there is a chance of excess electricity production (200 kW) in
its full time operation. This can be sold to the grid, hence, forming an additional source
of income. As far as the location of the plant is concerned, there is no problem of grid
accessibility, but a contract with the state electricity board is to be made for this deal.

6. Results and Discussion

It is found that the production capacity of the existing plant will be almost doubled
by the proposed cogeneration system. The recommended specifications are shown in
Table 4. A thorough economic analysis is made by taking into account the additional
cost of installation, income from power export, savings through the use of self electricity,
etc. The installation cost split up and summary of economic analysis are presented in

Figure 5. Schematic of the proposed cogeneration system.

732 M. A. Mujeebu et al.

Table 5
Recommended specifications of the proposed cogeneration system

Sl. no. Item Details

1 Rice mill type Modern

2 Paddy as input 80–90 tons per day
3 Type of boiler Fire tube boiler
4 Boiler capacity 5 tons, 20 bars, 350ı C
5 Electricity generation 350 kW
6 Fuel consumption (rice husk) 0.80 T/h
7 Total workers 25
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8 Land area 1.5 acre

Table 6
Installation cost of the proposed system (Universal
Instruments Co., Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, South India)

Cost in

Item INRa USDb

Steam boiler, 5 tons 3 0.09

Turbine–generator assembly 8 0.24
Accessories 0.16 0.005
Cooling tower 0.02 0.0006
Water tank 0.1 0.003
Miscellaneous 0.5 0.015
Total 11.78 0.353
a INR D Indian rupees.
b USD D US dollars.

Tables 6 and 7, respectively. The installation cost is kept at its maximum for the purpose
of analysis. Apart from enhancing the energy efficiency, it is clear from the result that the
proposed CHP can yield additional earning by increased production capacity and power
export. As the payback period is satisfactory (three years) the proposed scheme can be
implemented without any financial risk.

7. Conclusion
Being the second largest rice producing country, husk-fueled CHP in India can greatly
contribute to energy saving and environmental protection. The annual potential of elec-
tricity energy generation from rice husk in India is expected to be 4,750 MW by the
year 2010. The viability of a steam turbine-based captive power plant with cogeneration
for a par-boiled rice mill has been analyzed. It is found that if the existing facility is
replaced by the proposed scheme with power export, an annual savings of about INR 4
million ($0.12 m) could be achieved compared to the existing facility, with an acceptable
Husk-Fueled Steam Turbine Cogeneration 733

Table 7
Annual saving and payback period

Cash in millions

Sl. no. Item INR USD

1 Earning from power export 2.8 0.084

2 Saving through self electricity 1.28 0.0384
3 Total annual saving 4.08 0.122
4 Additional investment 11.78 0.353
5 Payback period 2.89 years
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payback period of three years. Moreover, the production capacity could be increase from
2 tons/h to 4 tons/h. Unfortunately, most of the industries are still either unaware of its
benefits or reluctant to take a risk to implement this technique. The present study can
be improved further by incorporating exergy analysis, optimization model for optimum
scheduling of CHP, study on effective utilization of burnt husk (husk ash) and rice bran,
emission analysis, etc.

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