According to reports, India’s state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) and Finland’s Chempolis Ltd, a green technology specialist, on Tuesday signed a preliminary collaboratory pact for the production of the bio-fuel ethanol, officials of both sides said.
The in-principle agreement was signed in the presence of visiting Finnish minister for European affairs Alexander Stubb and India’s minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Panabaka Lakshmi in New Delhi.
ONGC chairman and managing director Sudhir Vasudeva said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) would give ONGC access to technology for the conversion of cellulose into ethanol.
“They (Finns) have developed the technology by which cellulose-based waste products like wheat straw can be converted into ethanol. Knowing that nearly 75% of our (fuel) consumption is met through imports, we have large requirement of ethanol and it is not being met by indigenous production since ethanol is going into alcohol production,” Vasudeva said.
With India heavily reliant on imports of oil, the collaboration could yield a possible solution to the country’s quest for energy security, Vasudeva said.
“It (the collaboration) certainly helps in whatever modest way possible. Our (fuel) requirement is increasing very fast, we are producing only 40 million tonnes (of oil) and we are importing 140 million tonnes, so whatever can be done by adding this” would be welcome, he said.
“… Indian companies already have a long tradition to utilize residual biomass from agriculture, especially combustion of sugarcane bagasse and production of electricity… Indian agriculture produces huge volumes of residues that are largely not utilized,” Pasi Rousu, president, Asia-Pacific and Americas, at Chempolis, said in a statement posted on the company’s website.
“In cooperation with ONGC, Chempolis would be looking forward to the establishment of biorefineries preferably in areas of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. The company aims at delivering its technology in cooperation with leading Indian industry suppliers,” Rousu said.
According to Vasudeva, the pact will have other spin-offs—in the area of clean environment. At present, wheat straw, seen as the major raw material for ethanol, is being burnt and not put to any productive use, he said. “We are wasting energy, we are polluting the atmosphere, so it will help in all that,” Vasudeva added.
India is also looking to Finnish technology in the area of converting solar energy into thermal energy to be used for heating purposes, the ONGC chief said.