In Developing Countries mechanized agriculture is displacing tens of millions of farm laborers. Already overcrowded urban centers cannot accept this new migration. The Chinese have a saying, “The villagers must enter the factory without leaving the village”. PRME ‘s rural electrification plan leads to rural development/industrialization, employment opportunities for rural residents, farm income from waste, improved environment and a better standard of living in the rural sector. Farmers will receive income from agricultural residues. Rural homes, schools, libraries, hospitals, clinics and industries will have reliable energy for lighting, refrigeration, irrigation, manufacturing and other conveniences. The PRME plan will allow “The villagers to enter the factory without leaving the village”. These dramatic benefits can be realized by utilizing locally produced, renewable waste fuels that are now being burned openly in the field, creating chronic lung disease and contributing to pollution/climate change or being left to decay, creating a harbor for pests, insects and disease. PRME has developed a generic concept to use the PRME gasifier in small scale 3 megawatt (MWe), pre-engineered energy centers throughout concentrated agricultural areas of developing countries. The 3 MWe size has been chosen because it was found that in concentrated rice producing areas of China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and other developing countries, sufficient rice straw is produced within a 5 mile radius to sustain a 3 MWe power plant. Each 3 MWe plant consumes 52,000 tons of agricultural residues (6,000 Btu/lb), sufficient for 8500 hours (354 days) of operation per year. Each plant would displace 104,000 barrels of oil equivalent annually.
Environmental Benefits of the Technology
The PRME reactor/gasifier fired with biomass fuels reduces greenhouse gas inventory. Energy is produced with no net gain of CO2. Acid gas emissions are reduced due to the typically low sulfur content of biomass feed stocks.
The design and operating parameters of the PRME gasifier promise low levels of particulate emissions. Feed stocks containing up to 45 percent moisture have been successfully converted to clean hot gas. Low particulate emissions plus the generally lower inorganic content of biomass fuels translates into reduced emission of particulate air toxic materials. Due to the precise control of the gasification and combustion zone conditions and temperatures, NOx emissions may be lower than in conventional boilers even when fuels with higher fixed nitrogen are used.