India Solar, Wind, Biomass, Biofuels – EAI

Business Opportunities in the Biomass Energy Sector

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Biomass has the highest potential for small scale business development and mass employment. Characterized by low cost technologies and freely available raw materials, it is still one of the leading sources of primary energy for most countries. With better technology transfer and adaptation to local needs, biomass is not only environmentally benign, but also an economically sound choice. Bio-based energy can be expected to grow at a faster pace in the years to come. 

Opportunities are diverse, and are present in such different sectors as, R&D, agriculture (biomass cultivation and processing), transport services, bioenergy production, manufacturing of core equipments and EPC, as shown in the below representation.

R & D: 

As a part of the renewable energy program in India, biomass energy is being considered as an important resource and has been a research focus for a number of institutions within the country. Major activities of focus are towards the advancement of research on biomass conversion technologies and their end use devices. The work could focus on evolving suitable strategies and management approaches, training and networking among biomass users and academic activities relating these aspects. In addition to them, R&D efforts in biomass energy have also been focused on the following aspects.

Various Avenues of R&D for Biomass Energy

  • Establishing of standards, best practices and monitoring protocols in the biomass projects
  • Enhancements to existing biomass resource assessment and management strategies to cover wider biomass resources and period of analysis
  • Exploring extent of potential for replacement of fossil fuel by biomass in sector-wise industrial and commercial usage.
  • Evolving of specifications and standards for biomass energy devices and providing technical support in establishing test centre

Feedstock producers/ suppliers:

The most essential constituent of producing energy from biomass is the biomass itself. Several opportunities thus exist for farmers, waste processing mills, saw mills and other biomass feedstock producers/ collection agents.

Biomass Pre- Processing:

Many biomass processing techniques are in need of (pre)processing the feedstock to reduce the bulk volume of biomass, by producing uniform size pellets or briquettes, thus providing exciting opportunity to wood pellet and briquette manufacturers.

About 70 biomass briquetting machines were installed in India by 1995; since then briquetting has been gaining acceptance slowly but steadily.

For both farm waste and mills, briquetting is ideally done by a dedicated third party who operates on a contract basis with the biomass plants. This party ideally collects the wastes from a few farms or mills, briquettes it and transports it to the biomass plant.

Transportation Services:

Feedstock logistics includes all of the unit operations necessary to move biomass feedstocks from the land to the biorefinery and to ensure that the delivered feedstock meets the specifications of the biorefinery conversion process.

Manufacturing Opportunities: 

 Biomass to energy being a complex value chain, there exists enormous scope for many industrial sectors to manufacture and place their products for mechanization in biomass based energy generation activities.

Unit Operation

Manufacturing opportunities


Biomass processing to chemical fuels and heat


Gasifier, Generators and Gas engines, Exhaust gas emission systems, Driers, Boilers, Gas control valves and flares, Rigid metal pipelines, Char and water collection systems, Producer gas burner, Gas scrubbers  ( Coarse and fine filters),Coiled heat transfer gas cooling systems, PVC hose pipes


 Pyrolyser, Shredder machines, Conveyor systems, Cyclone separators, Condensation columns, Gas separators, Char and ash disposal  systems, Control valves, Pressure gauges, Suction pumps

Pipes and joints, Hoses, Scrubbers, Storage cylinders, Trolleys

Anaerobic digestion

Digestors, Bricks and Cement, Control valves, Gas holders, Scrubbers, Metal Pipes, Gas flares, Temperature sensors, Conveyor systems, Agitators


Boilers, Combustion chambers, Heat exchangers, Condensation columns, Gas flares, Filters, Ash disposal systems, Exhaust fans,


Hammer mills, Agitated mixing tanks,  Pressurized continuous jet cooking tank, Mash coolers, Bioreactors, Autoclaves Inoculation chambers, Centrifuges, Alcohol distillation columns, Deep freezers  


Agitated reactors, Stainless steel pipes, Centrifuges, Distillation columns, Washers and dryers , Settlers, Storage tanks, Positive displacement

Secondary heat recovery

Heat exchangers, Boilers, Compressors, Condensers, Evaporators, Expansion valves, Evaporative cooling devices, Air conditioners, Deep freezers, Incubation chambers, Hot geysers, Air blowers, Filters, Exhaust fans, Filter pads and Lighting appliances

Biomass preprocessing

Timber moulding machines, balers, wood chippers, biomass pellet compressors, extruders, Head saw, wood trimmers, wood conveyor belts  and mechanical binders etc

Biomass production

Wood cutting machines, Mechanical harvesters, Thrashers, dehusking and ginning machines, tractors, oil expellers  and simple devices such as sickles, crow bar, spades, hammers and scythes etc

Biomass transportation

Manufacturing of heavy trailers, trucks, lorries, tempo vans, timber haulage wagons and their prime components tyres, engines, glass, brake systems and other castings etc, Production of small spare parts

Service opportunities:

Consulting/Planning Opportunities:

The growing volume of biomass resources production and exploitation requires highly-trained and experienced professionals to farmers, investors, decision makers, biomass companies and, virtually, anybody interested in biomass related activities, thus providing opportunities to a large number of consultants and consultancies to provide expert assistance in the biomass sector.

Training/ Coaching Services:

Training and coaching in almost all fields of interest in biomass sector seem a profitable business opportunity for entrepreneurs, because existing SMEs and upcoming entrepreneurs face manpower, technology and budget restraints they usually cannot solve in adequate time frame.

Other service opportunities include:

  • Legal Services 
  • Accounting Services 
  • Janitorial Services 
  • On-going office equipment and supplies 
  • IT Services 
  • Facility Maintenance and Repair
  • Office Maintenance
  • Plant Maintenance
  • Storage & Piping Maintenance
  • Process Equipment Maintenance
  • Process Control Maintenance
    • Software
    • Hardware and Instrumentation

Summary of Biomass to Energy Business Opportunities and Benefitted Stakeholders Along the Value Chain

Business Opportunities

Stakeholders Benefitted

Biomass Production and Procurement

  • Sale of crop residues from fields and plantations, and agro-based units.
  • Layman recruitment on contract basis to work in field and forests.
  • Scope for production of simple devices (E.g. Axe, Crow bar, Spade etc)
  • Production and supply of carrier materials (E.g. Gunny bags and poly sacks etc)
  • Sale of wood debris from timber processing industries and their allied sectors.
  • Auctions concerned with forest biomass.
  • Land lease for establishment of dedicated energy plantations.
  • Plantation owners and farmers
  • Landlords
  • Cottage units (Gunny bags supply poly sacks supply etc.)
  • Auction bidders 
  • Saw mills
  • Timber merchants
  • Proprietors of private agro processing plants (Oil, paper & pulp, flour  and sugar  mills etc)
  • Biomass contractors ( Ex:collection agents aggregators)
  • State Forest Departments 

Biomass Transportation

  • Logistic services for mobilization of biomass from field/forest to processing facilities.
  • Weighing services for loaded cargos.
  • Services to assist loading of biomass in heavy vehicles.
  • Production and distribution of dedicated locomotives for biomass transports.
  • Periodical servicing for heavy vehicles
  • Recruitment of licensed drivers for goods transport
  • Authorized vehicle dealers/company outlets
  • Private transport agencies
  • Truck/Lorry weigh bridge stations
  • Earth movers service providers
  • Automobile companies
  • Vehicle service centers


Biomass Processing

  • Production of pre-processed feed stock (Ex: Briquettes, pellets)
  • Civil and mechanical construction of biomass processing plants.
  • Production of machineries and spares for raw material conversion
  • Distribution of equipments to plant operators.
  • Technical maintenance of processing plants
  • Bulk procurement of processed goods
  • Processing facility and management
  • Wholesale buyers
  • Service Technicians
  • Trading agencies
  • Manufacturers of machineries
  • Infrastructure builders and civil engineering consultants

Biomass Power Generation

  • Production and sale of power to government bodies
  • Commercial production and supply of machineries for power generation
  • Sale of by-products from biomass processing
  • Real estate business for establishment of processing plant
  • Construction of processing plants 
  • IPPs
  • CPPs
  • Fabricators for machineries
  • EPCs
  • Real estate business developers
  • Environmental engineering companies
  • Mechanical service works
  • Buyers of char, ash and compost etc

Biomass to transportation fuel

  • Synthesis of alcohol in bio processing units
  • Generation of catalysts
  • Manufacturing of machineries for downstream processing of alcohol
  • Commissioning of alcohol production units
  • Procurement of elite strain of microbes
  • Services from bio-engineering sector
  • Procurement of bio-fuel for energy generation
  • Commercial production and sales of yeast
  • Production and supply of additive chemical components


  • Fermentation units and alcohol distilleries
  • Enzyme manufacturers
  • Microbe germplasm centres
  • Instrumentation engineers
  • Oil marketing companies
  • Nutritional media manufacturing companies
  • Chemical industries and fertilizer units
  • EPCs
  • Fabricators
  • Service technicians

Biomass to heat

  • Production of heat to drive major production operations and cut electricity
  • Sale of ash from biomass
  • Manufacture  of secondary heat transfer systems
  • Installation of primary heat generation plant


  • Captive heat generators
  • Manufacturers of vapour absorption systems
  • Buyers of ash from brick kilns etc
  • Fabricators
  • EPCs
  • Service providers
  • Trading agencies

 India Biomass Energy