Rice husks are probably the largest mill-generated source of biomass available for energy use. As large quantities of rice husks are normally available at the rice mills there are no additional efforts or costs involved in the collection of this biomass for use as an energy source. Due to the availability of large quantities at any given location, rice husks can be put to use for comparatively larger energy applications, like generation of steam for process heating applications. In the northern parts of India, like in the states of Haryana and Punjab, due to the practice of dry milling of paddy rice, there is practically no captive consumption of husks within the rice mills. Thus, large quantities of rice husks are available for use as fuel.
Traditionally, part of the rice husk is used as an admixture in poultry feed and the balance is normally a disposal problem, in the absence of any market for the husk. Taking advantage of the lower cost of rice husks, small process industries located near the rice mills started using it as a fuel in their boilers to generate steam. Some of the units started pelletisation of rice husks for use as a substitute for firewood and coal at the household and small industry level, but pelletisation of rice husks, as practiced during those days, had its own set of problems and could not progress further.