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Last Updated:[05-10-2009 04:58:27 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Bangladesh Goes India and China way on Rice-husk Power

tradenews A large rice-husk power generation plant coming up at the north-western Thakurgaon district of Bangladesh will generate 400 KWh of electricity mainly for small and medium sized rice mills. The project, first of its kind in the country, is in line with such power generation plants in the neighbouring India and China.

The private sector venture undertaken by Sustainable Energy & Agro-resources Ltd (SEAL) will use the same technology employed in India, and will be fully operational in a year’s time. The company has been encouraged by the success of such plants in these countries in terms of delivery and profitability.

Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL), the market leader in private sector energy and infrastructure financing in Bangladesh is expected to fund the project. IDCOL plans to finance the venture for generating electricity, a total of 50 MW, through rice-husk gasification technology by 2012.

SEAL’s executive director, Abul Fazal Manik said apart from generating power from burning rice husk, it also aimed at producing import-substitute 'precipitated silica' with the rice-husk ash. In fact, the economic viability of silica production has helped the $1.2mn project to get approval from IDCOL for part funding.

At the moment, there is only one power plant in Bangladesh run by rice husk but it also requires diesel. However, SEAL project would be a 100 percent rice-husk power generation plant, said Manik. He said the plant would need 1.6-1.8 kg of rice husk to generate 1 kilowatt of electricity and production cost would be less than 75 cents per kilowatt.

It is estimated that Bangladesh produces around 6mn tons of rice husk per annum from about 30mn tons of paddy. About 4mn tons of rice husk are put to use for rice parboiling in majority of rice mills and domestic cooking, and it is also used as poultry and fish feed. The remaining portion and improvements in rice parboiling system are likely to increase the availability of rice husk for the present and future power plants.

“There is a huge demand for precipitated silica in local market while global market for the product is worth about $2bn,” Manik added. The precipitated silica is used in rubber, toothpaste and other chemical industries, and almost all the local demand is met through imports.

By Jose Roy

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