$1.1 M Grant to Develop a New Biomass Utilization Technology Platform for Power Generation in Rural India

VTARA Energy Group Pty Ltd. has made a $1.1 M grant to the Centre for FrontierEnergy Technology and Utilisation. The grant will support a joint partnership with Canberra-based VTARA to develop a new technology platform for efficient utilization of biomass for rural electrification in India.

The project, administrated by Newcastle Innovation, specifically aims to optimize existing technologies and successfully implement gasification-based technologies. Research and development will be conducted primarily at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources precinct with field / demonstration trials in India. Subject to a successful demonstration in India, the proposed technology may also be deployed worldwide to supply sustainable energy solutions in both rural and urban environments.

The Chief Investigators for the project are Dr Kalpit Shah and Prof Behdad Moghtaderi both from Chemical Engineering. Dr Shah is a Senior Lecturer at the University and is an emerging leader in the area of energy technologies with several process inventions to his name including Stone Dust Looping (SDL), a process for ventilation air methane abatement. Professor Moghtaderi is a world-renowned expert in the energy field, having already developed and commercialised several technologies including the GRANEX heat engine.

According to Dr. Shah, the project will focus on key issues in gasification such as fuel flexibility, tar removal and heat recovery. Dr Shah is confident that the proposed inventions, together with research supported through this joint venture, will deliver the science required to optimize technologies applicable to biomass utilization.

Prof Moghtaderi explained that the technological platforms that will be created as part of this project will surely benefit developing nations by creating sustainable energy solutions that will enhance rural development. He added that this project will contribute towards realizing Australia’s commitment to support global economic development.

VTARA Energy Group Pty, Ltd, the industry partner in this joint venture, is the parent company of Tara Green Energy Pty Ltd., a company that has a long- standing interest in delivering sustainable energy solutions to India. Tara Green Energy currently has several projects in southern India using wind, solar and hydro technologies. Mr. Clive Stephens, Chairman and CEO of the VTARA Energy Group, views the development of gasification-based biomass energy delivery systems as a scientific and engineering contriubtion that will provide a new, disruptive technology in the sustainable energy arena. Mr. Stephens explained that one of Tara’s core beliefs is that by bringing biomass-based sustainable technologies to rural areas, Tara not only delivers energy, but provides jobs that will enhance the development of the rural sector, help sustain rural populations and contribute to the bioremediation of rural environments.

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