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PM Modi unveils IOCL’s first 2G biorefinery

PM Modi unveils IOCL’s first 2G biorefinery
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi unveils a first-of-its-kind second generation (2G) ethanol biorefinery of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) at the Panipat refinery in the State of Haryana as part of World Biofuels Day on August 10, 2022 (photo courtesy IOCL).

In India, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has unveiled a first-of-its-kind second generation (2G) ethanol biorefinery of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) at the Panipat refinery in the State of Haryana. Supplied by Praj Industries Ltd, the plant utilizes Praj’s proprietary technology to convert rice straw into ethanol.

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Spanning across 35 acres (14.1 ha), this 2G ethanol biorefinery is capable of processing 2 lakh (200 000) tonnes of rice straw annually to generate around 3 crore (30 million) litres of ethanol using proprietary technology developed domestically by Praj Industries Ltd (Praj).

Biofuel for us means green fuel, environment-saving fuel. With the establishment of this modern plant, farmers of Haryana, where rice and wheat are grown in abundance, will get another lucrative means of using crop residue. Farmers will now feel the pride of contributing to the production of biofuel and nation building, said PM Modi while dedicating 2G ethanol biorefinery to the nation.

“A red-letter day in India’s green journey. My sincere gratitude to Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi for dedicating this landmark project to the nation that will reduce CO2 emissions by about 3 lakh metric tonnes every year,” commented S M Vaidya, Chairman, IOCL during the unveiling ceremony in Panipat that was held on August 10, 2022, as part of World Biofuels Day (photo courtesy IOCL).

It is also expected to benefit thousands of farmers while creating around 1 500 jobs for rural youth.

Importantly, it will help address the major challenge of stubble burning-related pollution by eliminating around 320 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year.

Furthermore, it will also save foreign exchange worth INR 55 – 60 crores (550 – 600 million) every year that is otherwise incurred on fuel imports while boosting the Make in India initiative and helping achieve 20 percent ethanol blending.

Proprietary ‘enfinity’ technology

According to Praj, its indigenously developed ‘enfinity’ technology is able to process different agricultural residues to produce a variety of products including bioethanol, lignosulphonates, and biobitumen with the highest efficiencies.

Praj has optimized the project’s CAPEX and OPEX by harnessing design and engineering capabilities along with four decades of experience in the bioeconomy.

We are very proud of our association with IOCL to set up this coveted project. This plant is a huge milestone in realizing Hon. Prime Minister’s vision of an energy-independent India. We believe the success of this project reinforces India’s technology leadership in the global bioeconomy. On the foothills of this success, the sky is the limit for biofuels, literally, said Dr Pramod Chaudhari, Founder, and  Chairman of Praj Industries.

The commissioning of IOCL’s 2G biorefinery began in the first week of August 2022 and the commercial production of 2G ethanol is expected to commence within 90 days.

Along with this project, Praj is also setting up similar projects for the other Oil Marketing Corporations – Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) in  Bhatinda, State of Punjab, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Bargarh, State of Orissa.

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