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Bangladesh gets its first biomass plant

Jan 17, 2008

First of its kind in Bangladesh, DreamsPower is a 250 KW biomass gasification facility. Using the rice husk, this will generate renewable electricity and is part of a rural electrification project that will benefit hundreds of thousands of people living in villages.

Kapashia, Bangladesh: The facility, located in an unelectrified town named Kapashia (Gazipur district), is part of a rural electrification project that aims to reach about 700,000 citizens through renewables.

The green power plant, the first ever its kind in Bangladesh, is a 250 kW biomass gasification facility that generates renewable electricity from abundant agricultural residues such as rice husks.

IDCOL provided concessionary loans and grants, sourced from IDA and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), for a total project costy of 25 million taka (€250,000) of which the World Bank provided 60%.

DreamsPower is the initiative of Asaduzzaman Manik, a poultry farmer who experienced great difficulties in keeping his business running without electricity. Fed up with the status quo, he decided to create his own 'micro energy company'.

"A few years ago I went to India and coincidentally experienced about a small scale husk-fired power plant. I thought it is possible to build up this sort of plants in Bangladesh also as we have husk aplenty in all parts of the country. This type of captive power plants are available in India, but we are distributing power for commercial purpose using our own grid that is unique in South Asia," said Asaduzzaman Manik, managing director DreamsPower.

Being located in an un electrified area, the plant is now supplying environmentally friendly grid quality power to about 500 households and commercial entities for the first time. The unique plant in the town supplies all the required energy in a decentralised manner, without the need for backup from other sources.

A total of 220 consumers have been connected to the local grid, while another 2,300 applicants await connections.

Through the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project, commonly known as RERED, the World Bank is supporting these types of initiatives in Bangladesh.

Under this project, IDCOL is installing thousands of solar home energy and biogas systems. The Rural Electrification Board now wants to replicate the effort for biomass power plants.

According to Asaduzzaman Manik at present only about 38% of the population in Bangladesh has access to electricity.

Expanding rural electrification is key to the prosperity and development of rural areas.While growth in electricity consumption is directly related to economic growth, electrification is also required to attain Millennium Development Goals: power is needed to maintain the 'cold chain' for vaccines; the likelihood of babies surviving to five years is significantly higher in villages with electricity than those without; electricity also opens new avenues for job creation and thus increases income.

The World Bank hopes that IDCOL will promote biomass power plants in rural Bangladesh the same way it promoted solar home systems.

The lessons learnt from installing this plant could be effectively used while preparing other biomass plants. This will certainly reduce the challenges for the next entrants and can attract new entrepreneurs to install biomass power plants in rural Bangladesh to meet the electricity demand. This will also create employment opportunities in rural Bangladesh.

Besides supporting the conventional grid based electricity sector, Bangladesh’s comparative advantage in the renewable energy resources is appreciated and the World Bank says it is willing to support Bangladesh’s future needs to develop its renewable energy sector if the government so requests.

Given the lack of adequate power generation capacity in Bangladesh, promoting this type of decentralized renewable energy power plants will add to the country’s energy security and shall meet energy demand.

Source : Biotech.org
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