Germany-headed independent biofuels major VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergy AG (VERBIO) and India’s largest integrated and diversified energy company IndianOil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will explore the possibility of creating a Joint Venture company for the purpose of deploying VERBIO’s technology and experience in setting up and operating biomethane, ethanol, and biodiesel plants and marketing these biofuels via IndianOil's network.
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VERBIO is present in India since 2016 with its 100 percent owned subsidiary, VERBIO India Pvt Ltd, headed by Ashish Kumar. Furthermore, VERBIO India will be commissioning its first “proof of concept” of India’s largest biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) production unit in Sangrur, State of Punjab. Expected to be commissioned by year-end, the plant will have a production capacity of 33 tonnes-per-day of compressed biomethane (bioCNG).
VERBIO and IndianOil have been associated since 2017 wherein VERBIO has also a commercial agreement with IndianOil for the bioCNG offtake from the aforementioned bioCNG production unit.
Through the signing of the MoU, which took place on July 30, 2021, VERBIO and IndianOil intend to collaborate to leverage each other’s strength for mutual benefit. VERBIO can provide an end-to-end solution for the agricultural feedstock supply, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for setting up biofuel refineries based on VERBIO’s own patented technologies, and global operational excellence of these refineries.
IndianOil through the presence of its vast marketing network in India would offtake the CBG/biofuels and market the same in its channel network. As next steps, VERBIO and IndianOil will jointly evaluate the economic feasibility for the multiplication of bioCNG production units so as to form the foundation of the planned biofuels joint venture company for the Indian market in coming years.
Both companies are “extremely positive” on the scaling-up potential primarily due to the abundance of unutilized agriculture feedstock – an estimated 90 million tonnes of agricultural residues are generated annually – supported by growing consumption of CNG and bioCNG, the most cost-effective fuel compared to petrol or diesel in India.
With the joint cooperation, the challenge associated with “stubble burning” in India can be seriously addressed with the “perfect combination” of proven technology from VERBIO for conversion of agricultural waste to energy/fuel, and a cost-effective supply chain supported by an extensive network of country-wide distribution and retail channels from IndianOil across automotive, industrial and commercial end-use applications.