Only if vegetation used for the purpose is replaced by equal amounts of replanted vegetation can it be the ultimate means of producing power, Hari Kiran Chereddi, MD, Sujana Energy, informs R Srinivasan.The MD of Sujana Energy group, Hari Kiran Chereddi, spoke to us about strategies adopted to leverage massive power capacity additions to improve the company's profitability and the hybrid-solar thermal biomass technology process, etc. Excerpts of the interview:How do you intend to leverage the massive power capacity additions to improve your company's profitability? India plans to expand its power generation capacity by 100,000 MW during 2012-2017 for which the power ministry estimates that investments close to $110 billion would be required. Part of this will be through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which aims to install a solar generation capacity of 20,000 MW by 2020, of 100,000 MW by 2030 and of 200,000 MW by 2050. Funding from the government for the 30-year period will be approximately Rs 850 to Rs 1,050 billion. Our company plans to emerge as one of the leading EPC and equipment supplier players in the Indian renewable energy segment thus becoming one of the main benefactors of the above investment.Kindly give details of the hybrid solar-thermal biomass process. How many MW does it produce? The capacity factor for solar ranges from 20 per cent for photovoltaic (PV) to 15 per cent for concentrated solar power (CSP), which in turn results in very high electricity costs. To improve the capacity factor, a hybrid system that employs natural gas or biomass is used to generate heat when solar production is insufficient. The company's indigenous hybrid solar system primarily operates on biomass to improve the capacity factor of the plant but uses solar to minimise the amount of biomass required, thus reducing the operational costs. In using solar power, the capacity factor is only 15-23 per cent but hybrid plants can provide a capacity factor of greater than 75-80 per cent along with a higher thermal efficiency. This kind of hybrid power plant can be used to produce power like a power generating station with a capacity ranging from 1 to 5 MW.To achieve the high temperature and heat requirements to continuously produce superheated steam, the hybrid system makes use of parabolic troughs and gasification. Solar radiation from troughs is concentrated onto a receiver, which typically consists of a pipe with a solar selective coating encased in a glass tube throughout which there is a vacuum. The solar troughs for this project have been designed to heat water from liquid to saturated steam. The transition from saturated to superheated steam is accomplished through the combustion of syngas produced by gasification. This approach allows the solar field to provide up to 80 per cent of the energy that is required to convert water from liquid to superheated steam and to drive the steam turbine.To what extent has the ambitious plan to treble turnover by 2009-10 through capacity expansion, product diversification, augmentation of EPC capabilities and strategic tie-ups worked out? The company is poised to grow exponentially by leveraging its solar thermal technology to set up captive power plants and provide equipment and EPC services to companies across the globe. This will be the main revenue generator for it in coming years. As of now, the main revenue sources are LED applications and solar PV applications.The company has a series of strategic tie-ups with internationally-renowned companies in the solar thermal and LED space. It plans to expand its LED business in India by opening sales office across the country in the coming years. Today, its operations are not merely confined to India. It has been gaining traction in USA, Africa and Middle East, which will eventually become one of the major revenue sources.Power generation is the largest sector for GHG emissions and India's emissions have grown at about three per cent annually. What should be done to alleviate the same? Typically one 500 MW coal-fired power plant produces approximately 3 million tonne/year of carbon dioxide (CO2).To alleviate this situation, dependence on coal power plants should be reduced by moving towards renewable power which will help improve energy security as well as reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Renewable energy sources such as solar, tidal, geothermal, wind, nuclear and more precisely the use of carbon sinks, carbon credits and taxation are aimed at countering this GHG emission problem.Hybrid means of power generation which partly uses fuel wood, alcohol fermented from sugar, combustible oils extracted from soybeans and methane gas emitted by waste dumps, can help cut greenhouse gas emissions.Also, only if vegetation used for the purpose is replaced by equal amounts of replanted vegetation (so that carbon dioxide released by biomass combustion is recaptured through photosynthesis) can the hybrid means of power generation be the ultimate means of producing power.About Sujana EnergyThe company is developing the latest LED lighting, renewable power generation and solar applications, which offer clean and innovative use of electricity. The company is a part of the Sujana Group, which has a significant presence in power transmission, telecom tower manufacturing and allied services. The group has a presence in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, Indonesia, Mauritius, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda and the USA. In India, it operates with over 30 plants and offices all over the country.
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