On Friday, March 6th, the first test run of a gasifier producing alternative energy using rice husk was conducted in a rice mill on the Essequibo Coast, a release from the Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday.
The release said that Ramlakhan & Sons Rice Mill at Exmouth, Essequibo Coast, was the first to take the initiative and purchase a Gasification Plant. The plant arrived late last year and the installation and successful testing were recently completed. The rice husk will fuel the gasifier and the gases emitted are swept of solid particles, tar/carbon and water/moisture, and directed into the combustion chambers of a 250 KW powergen set, replacing 70 % of the diesel required to run the genset, the release said.
Ramlakhan was quoted in the release as saying that this will greatly reduce his energy cost and improve his viability at a time when rice prices on the international market are on the decline. This will also allow him to keep paying a competitive price to the farmers for their paddy, the release added.
The gasifier initiative stems from the government’s low carbon thrust. As part of this drive, the Government of Guyana and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on May 25th 2011. During initial studies, TERI found that the energy cost component in rice production was over 35%. The release said that the cost of energy accounts to close to US$15.50 per metric tonne of paddy processed. This is mainly due to the use of diesel for power generation. Minimal use was being made of the rice husk and this lack of use also created an environmental problem.
The release said that energy efficiency studies were done at six rice mills to date and a best practice was developed for each rice mill. During that process a pilot case study to use a gasifier or a conventional boiler/turbine combination to produce power was done. From the pilot project, the release said that a bankable model was devised.
The release said that the Ministry of Agriculture is working with other rice millers for an across- the-board conversion to gasification.