The feasibility of hybrid solar-biomass power plants in India


We assess the feasibility of hybrid solar-biomass power plants for use in India in various applications including tri-generation, electricity generation and process heat. To cover this breadth of scenarios we analyse, with the help of simulation models, case studies with peak thermal capacities ranging from 2 to 10 MW. Evaluations are made against technical, financial and environmental criteria. Suitable solar multiples, based on the trade-offs among the various criteria, range from 1 to 2.5. Compared to conventional energy sources, levelised energy costs are high - but competitive in comparison to other renewables such as photovoltaic and wind. Long payback periods for hybrid plants mean that they cannot compete directly with biomass-only systems. However, a 1.2-3.2 times increase in feedstock price will result in hybrid systems becoming cost competitive. Furthermore, in comparison to biomass-only, hybrid operation saves up to 29% biomass and land with an 8.3-24.8 $/GJ/a and 1.8-5.2 ¢/kWh increase in cost per exergy loss and levelised energy cost. Hybrid plants will become an increasingly attractive option as the cost of solar thermal falls and feedstock, fossil fuel and land prices continue to rise. In the foreseeable future, solar will continue to rely on subsidies and it is recommended to subsidise preferentially tri-generation plants.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences > Mechanical Engineering & Design
Engineering & Applied Sciences > Engineering Systems & Management
Aston Business School > Aston India Foundation for Applied Research
Aston Business School
Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
Engineering & Applied Sciences > Sustainable environment research group
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Nixon, J, Dey, P & Davies, P, 'The feasibility of hybrid solar-biomass power plants in India' Energy, vol. 46, no. 1 (2012) DOI
Uncontrolled Keywords: Energy(all),Pollution
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2012-10
Authors: Nixon, Jonathan
Dey, Prasanta ( 0000-0002-9984-5374)
Davies, Philip ( 0000-0003-4783-1234)



Version: Accepted Version

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