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Licella and Unnmukt Urja sign MoU to explore rice straw to biofuel in India

Australian pioneers in chemical recycling Licella Holdings Ltd (Licella), has recently announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work in partnership with Indian based company Unnmukt Urja Pvt Ltd (Unnmukt Urja), to explore the opportunity for utilising Licella’s proprietary ‘Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor’– Cat-HTR technology as a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and higher value solution for rice straw in India.

Every year around 15-20 million tonnes of crop stubble, mainly rice straw is burnt in Punjab and Haryana, India. During the peak crop burning season in Punjab, the air pollution in Delhi is 20 times higher than the threshold for safe air as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Licella Holdings Ltd (Licella), has recently announced completed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work in partnership with Indian based company Unnmukt Urja Pvt Ltd (Unnmukt Urja), to explore the opportunity for utilising Licella’s ‘Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor’– Cat-HTR technology as a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and higher value solution for rice straw residues (photo courtesy Licella).

Founded in 2019, Unnmukt Urja has designed a smart and innovative supply chain system that significantly reduces the aggregation cost of low bulk density grass crop straw making it viable for biocrude production. Based on this supply chain system, Unnmukt Urja has formulated a business plan that primarily aims to cater to marine and heavy industries.

The partnership between Licella and Unnmukt Urja aligns with the Indian Government’s strong focus on biofuels and more sustainable alternatives to deal with biomass waste and agricultural residues. Biofuel from biomass has been recognised as an advanced biofuel in India’s Biofuel Policy 2018.

India generates approximately 683 million tonnes of dry agricultural biomass every year. Biomass residues generated from rice crops account for approximately 178 million tonnes of this. The current practice to deal with rice straw residues is to burn it in the field.

However, widespread agricultural burning is a huge issue of air pollution in India and leads to some of India’s major cities having the lowest air quality in the world. Every year around 15-20 million tonnes of crop stubble, mainly rice straw is burnt in Punjab and Haryana. During the peak crop burning season in Punjab, the air pollution in Delhi is 20 times higher than the threshold for safe air as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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