Biomass Resources from Rice Industry

The cultivation of rice results in two major types of residues – Straw and Husk –having attractive potential in terms of energy. Although the technology for rice husk utilization is well-proven in industrialized countries of Europe and North America, such technologies are yet to be introduced in the developing world on commercial scale. The importance of Rice Husk and Rice Straw as an attractive source of energy can be gauged from the following statistics:

Rice Straw

  • 1 ton of Rice paddy produces 290 kg Rice Straw
  • 290 kg Rice Straw can produce 100 kWh of power
  • Calorific value = 2400 kcal/kg

Rice Husk

  • 1 ton of Rice paddy produces 220 kg Rice Husk
  • 1 ton Rice Husk is equivalent to 410- 570 kWh electricity
  • Calorific value = 3000 kcal/kg
  • Moisture content = 5 – 12%

Rice husk is the most prolific agricultural residue in rice producing countries around the world. It is one of the major by-products from the rice milling process and constitutes about 20% of paddy by weight. Rice husk, which consists mainly of lingo-cellulose and silica, is not utilized to any significant extent and has great potential as an energy source.

Rice husk can be used for power generation through either the steam or gasification route. For small scale power generation, the gasification route has attracted more attention as a small steam power plant is very inefficient and is very difficult to maintain due to the presence of a boiler. In addition for rice mills with diesel engines, the gas produced from rice husk can be used in the existing engine in a dual fuel operation.

The benefits of using rice husk technology are numerous. Primarily, it provides electricity and serves as a way to dispose of agricultural waste. In addition, steam, a byproduct of power generation, can be used for paddy drying applications, thereby increasing local incomes and reducing the need to import fossil fuels. Rice husk ash, the byproduct of rice husk power plants, can be used in the cement and steel industries further decreasing the need to import these materials.

Rice straw can either be used alone or mixed with other biomass materials in direct combustion. In this technology, combustion boilers are used in combination with steam turbines to produce electricity and heat. The energy content of rice straw is around 14 MJ per kg at 10 percent moisture content.  The by-products are fly ash and bottom ash, which have an economic value and could be used in cement and/or brick manufacturing, construction of roads and embankments, etc.

Straw fuels have proved to be extremely difficult to burn in most combustion furnaces, especially those designed for power generation. The primary issue concerning the use of rice straw and other herbaceous biomass for power generation is fouling, slagging, and corrosion of the boiler due to alkaline and chlorine components in the ash. Europe, and in particular, Denmark, currently has the greatest experience with straw fired power and CHP plants.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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9 Responses to Biomass Resources from Rice Industry

  1. yob yobe okello says:

    please can you send me any contact address where I can get a mobile rice husk gasifier to be used for rice milling. We find it useful for farmers in the rural areas where there is no power connection.
    thanks

  2. Pingback: Rice Enhances The Environment

  3. Gert B. Petersen says:

    We would be happy to share our knowhow regarding straw as boiler feed. We have several plants in operation in Denmark and we would welcome visitors.

    Kind regards

    G. B. Petersen

    • Eddy Tay says:

      Hi, G.B.Petersen, i am a small entrepreneur from Malaysia, and i found that malaysia’s farmers burn all the straw right after harvesting, which is kind of waste and harmful to the environment, could you share more about the boiler feed that you mentioned?

  4. Mr. G. B. Petersen,

    I would very much like to discuss with you, as you have offered, the use of rice straw for power production.

    Thank you and with kind regards
    Amal Wimalasena
    Sri Lanka

  5. bolaji bosede says:

    Please can you send me the process of making fuel and electricity out of rice husk, thanks

  6. PAMIDI VENKATESWARLU says:

    can we use the rice hull and chaff grain in the bio-gas digester?
    What is the composition of rice hull and chaff grain?

  7. BIKRAM POUDEL says:

    are the data on rice straw and rice husk true? Is there any reference to the figures you using in the article?

  8. Janayash N Desai says:

    Sir, before going into the subject of getting energy from straw, there are two main issues,
    1. Economical ways to collect and distribute straw
    2. Primary use as animal feed

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