Grid-Connected Biomass Gasification Plants for Rural Energy Access in Sri Lanka

One of our SEPS projects in Sri Lanka aims to create an integrated development plan for increasing the income level of the low-income farming communities living in the country’s dry region. The objective is to establish the first ever community-based on-grid wood-gasification power plant in Batagummana, Sri Lanka.

One of the central goals of the project is to demonstrate the technical and economical feasibility of selling electricity from a community-based wood-gasification plant under a standardised power purchase agreement with the Ceylon Electricity Board (a state-owned utility). This project will help to build farmers’ confidence in the new technology and on the market for sustainably grown fuel wood; thereby creating an enabling environment for replicating this community-based model in about 10,000 rural villages in Sri Lanka.

After selecting the village of Batugammana, mobilising the local community and establishing business and management models, the implementing organization Energy Forum purchased and installed the “Power Pellet”, an automated biomass gasifier which was success fully tested in Sri Lanka for the first time during this project. Several technical issues and regulatory obstacles has been successfully resolved during trials, as a result of which the plant was successfully commissioned in Batugammana.

Further recent project progress and achievements include

  • The successful connection of the plant to the national grid
  • The signing of a power purchase agreement with the Ceylon Electricity Board
  • The establishment of a fuel wood supply chain
  • The training and capacity building of plant operators
  • The monitoring of the performance of the plant

The operation of the whole concept (from the biomass supply up to electricity generation and selling) is being monitored. The project is expected to be officially concluded begining of 2016.

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