Trigeneration using biomass energy for sustainable development

Padma Vasudevan, P.K. Sen, S.N. Singh, Prahlad Singh, Philip Davies, Prasanta K. Dey, Robert Berry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The paper aims to design and prove the concept of micro-industry using trigeneration fuelled by biomass, for sustainable development in rural NW India. Design/methodology/approach: This is being tested at village Malunga, near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The system components comprise burning of waste biomass for steam generation and its use for power generation, cooling system for fruit ripening and the use of steam for producing distilled water. Site was selected taking into account the local economic and social needs, biomass resources available from agricultural activities, and the presence of a NGO which is competent to facilitate running of the enterprise. The trigeneration system was designed to integrate off-the-shelf equipment for power generation using boilers of approximate total capacity 1 tonne of fuel per hour, and a back-pressure steam turbo-generator (200 kW). Cooling is provided by a vapour absorption machine (VAM). Findings: The financial analysis indicates a payback time of less than two years. Nevertheless, this is sensitive to market fluctuations and availabilities of raw materials. Originality/value: Although comparable trigeneration systems already exist in large food processing industries and in space heating and cooling applications, they have not previously been used for rural micro-industry. The small-scale (1-2 m3/h output) multiple effect distillation (3 effect plus condenser) unit has not previously been deployed at field level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Sector Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • biomass energy
  • decentralized rural industrialization
  • energy balance
  • energy efficiency
  • environmental benefits
  • field application
  • micro-industry model
  • sustainable development
  • water cycle
  • trigeneration
  • solar energy
  • supply chain


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