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IndianOil unveils two innovative technologies during World Biofuel Day

In India, Shri Krishan Pal, Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, unveiled two innovative technologies developed by the country's flagship national oil company, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IndianOil) R&D Centre to coincide with the World Biofuel Day celebrations on August 10 at its Faridabad campus. Faridabad is the largest city in the north Indian state of Haryana, a leading industrial centre and situated in the National Capital Region bordering the Indian capital New Delhi.

Shri Krishan Pal, Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt of India, & Shri Vipul Goel, Minister of Industries & Commerce, Skill Development, Industrial Training & Environment, Govt of Haryana, were present on the occasion. Other dignitaries at the function included Dr Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, senior officials from Faridabad administration, IndianOil, Department of Biotechnology, EcoGreen and ISKCON (photo courtesy IndianOil).

On the occasion, Shri Krishan Pal inaugurated the IOC-DBT-Lanzatech Pilot Plant set up at IndianOil’s R&D Centre to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into high-value lipids. This novel 3rd generation (3G) biofuel technology has been developed by the DBT-IOC Centre for Advanced Bio-Energy Research at IndianOil R&D by integrating two technologies: US-headed LanzaTech’s patented anaerobic gas fermentation technology to convert CO2 into acetic acid, and IndianOil R&D’s patented aerobic fermentation technology to convert acetic acid to lipids (algal oil), including the highly valuable Omega 3-fatty acids (DHAs).

The lipids are then trans-esterified followed by separation of Omega 3-fatty acids (DHAs) esters as a high-value product. The remaining lipid esters are used to produce biodiesel.

Nutraceuticals and biodiesel from carbon dioxide

EPA/DHA Omega-3s have been shown to play very important roles in both primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases including malnutrition in children. With the growing range of health benefits attributed to EPA/DHA Omega-3, the global market for Omega-3 fatty acid esters is projected by various market research estimates to be worth around US$57 billion by 2025.

Commercial grade DHA esters price ranges from US$500-US$1200 per kg depending upon its purity. Currently, most of the production of Omega-3 fatty acid esters is from fish oil which uses large quantities of fish as feedstock, contributing to an overfishing crisis and threatening global food security.

According to IndianOil, this novel 3G biofuel technology with the DHA value chain has demonstrated the tremendous potential of CO2 sequestration/carbon recycling and is expected to create a platform that can produce sustainable food supplements and biofuels economically and at commercial scale.

The DBT-IOC Centre has put up the world’s first pilot facility at IndianOil R&D,
Faridabad at 100 litres reactor scale to sequester about 10 kg/day of CO2. This technology
has also wide recognition including US & Japan patents. IndianOil & LanzaTech bagged
the Game Changer Company of the year award instituted by Petrofed in 2015 for this
novel integrated process (photo courtesy IndianOil).

IndianOil says that this “disruptive technology” is expected to give the company a “distinct lead over the competition” in not only reducing carbon emissions but also producing high-value products such as DHA and biodiesel. Once proven at pilot scale, this technology has a potential to be a game-changer for IndianOil.

The company plans to put up commercial plants at suitable refinery locations – 2G ethanol plants where pure CO2 is available from the Mono Ethyl Glycol (MEG) ethanol fermentation units and hydrogen from refineries.

Organic waste into cooking gas and fertilizer

Shri Krishan Pal also laid the foundation stone for a novel 5-tonne per day Biomethanation Plant set up by IndianOil R&D where organic waste would be converted into bio-CNG using a bio-innoculum, an efficient and cost-effective biomethanation technology developed by IndianOil R&D that converts organic waste to biogas with high methane content – in excess of 80 percent.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), IndianOil R&D has collaborated with the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad and Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran that has provided a 0.3 ha land parcel in the backyard of IndianOil-R&D Centre in Sector-13 of Faridabad. This will be the first of its kind plant set up by IndianOil based on its in-house biomethanation technology and shall help convert organic waste into biogas that will be utilized for cooking, lighting or even for fuelling automobiles.

Shri Krishan Pal also laid the foundation stone for a 5-metric tonne per day Biomethanation Plant
set up by IndianOil R&D to convert organic waste into bio-CNG using a proprietary bio-innoculum.
The high methane content biogas will be used for cooking (photo courtesy IndianOil).

The Municipal Corporation Faridabad will provide an assured supply of segregated organic waste in requisite quantity for the plant through its associates M/s. Eco Green Energy. The 5 tonne-per day capacity plant is estimated to produce at least 250 kg biogas per day, which is equivalent to 18 LPG cylinders, and over 450 kg of digestate that shall be supplied as fertilizers to the gardens of Faridabad being maintained by Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran.

IndianOil is also collaborating with ISKCON Food Relief Organization to supply the generated biogas to ISKCON‘s Faridabad kitchen which cooks meals for 60 000 government school children in Faridabad under its “Mid-Day Meal” programme. Civic bodies and corporations of several other cities such as Gurgaon and New Delhi have also shown keen interest to replicate the Faridabad bio-methanation project model.

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