India tests Swedish technology to reduce stubble burning

News:Recently,To find a solution to stubble burning issue,India is testing a Swedish technology torrefaction that can convert rice stubble into ‘bio-coal’.


  • The government has funded a pilot project at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali (Punjab) with a Swedish company to evaluate the feasibility of the torrefaction technology.

About Torrefaction:

  • Torrefaction is a thermal process to convert biomass into a coal-like material which has better fuel characteristics than the original biomass.
  • It involves heating up straw, grass, saw mill residue and wood biomass to 250 degrees Celsius to around 350 degrees Celsius.
  • This changes the elements of the biomass into ‘coal-like’ pellets.These pellets can then be used for combustion along with coal for industrial applications like steel and cement production
  • If scaled up, about 65% of the biomass could be converted to energy.

Benefits of Torrefaction:

  • Torrefaction of biomass results in a high grade biofuel which can be used as a replacement of coal in electricity and heat production.
  • The torrefied Biomass material has higher calorific value and higher durability.
  • It has a capacity of converting 150-200 kilograms of paddy straw to bio-coal every hour and reduce CO2 emissions by 95%.

Additional information:

About Stubble Burning:

  • Stubble Burning is the practice of intentionally setting fire to residues which remains after the harvest of a crop. It is usually done to clear the field quickly for the next season and to burn off weeds and other pests.
  • Stubble burning is pan-Indian problem. However, it is most acute in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh.
  • It contributes significantly to air pollution in Delhi-NCR region when in autumn, paddy stubbles are burned to prepare field for wheat cultivation.