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Praj opens India’s first second-generation bio-refinery for renewable fuels

According to reports, Praj Industries on Sunday announced the opening of India’s first integrated bio-refinery for renewable fuels and chemicals which will use a variety of agricultural residues to produce a variety of products.

The second-generation bio-refinery demonstration plant, inaugurated by union minister Nitin Gadkari, is capable of producing 1 million litres per annum (MLPA) of ethanol by processing a variety of agri-residue like rice and wheat straw, cotton stalk, bagasse, cane trash, corn cobs and stover, etc, with superior yields.

Research is underway to further expand the pipeline of other renewable fuels and chemicals to be produced from this technology platform, Praj Industries said.

An eco-system for second generation ethanol is in the making to achieve the aspired 20 per cent blend ratio as per the government’s plan to increase the ethanol content in auto fuels.

 As a part of this drive, 10 to 12 second generation ethanol projects are expected to be finalized, with average capex of around Rs600 crore each. Each of these plants will have the capacity to produce 100,000 litres of ethanol per day.

”Our country is paving its way toward greater energy self-reliance”, said Nitin Gadkari, union minister of road transport and highways while inaugurating Praj Industries’ second generation integrated bio-refinery demonstration plant for renewable fuels and chemicals, near Pune.

Gadkari reiterated the government’s initiatives in this direction: ”It is heartening to see indigenous innovation emerging from Praj Industries yet again. Today I witnessed India’s first second generation bio-refinery demonstration plant and my belief in India’s capability in technology development as compared to the Western countries, has strengthened manifold.

”Biofuel is not only cost-effective, but also a pollution-free import substitute of Rs7 lakh crore,” he said.

The minister stated that the government has initiated dialogues between my ministry, petroleum ministry and renewable energy ministry to present a comprehensive blueprint and is now with the prime minister for consideration.

There are multiple benefits that can accrue to the government, farmers, industries and consumers, he said, adding,  that agricultural diversification will generate additional revenues to the farming community. ”Waste to wealth is the new mantra that emerges from Praj’s innovative world-class second generation ethanol technology.”

”We are honoured that Praj’s second generation bio-refinery demonstration plant is inaugurated by Nitin Gadkari, who has been strongly supporting renewable fuels for transportation. We have been working on second generation ethanol technology for over 7 years and this plant is a testament of our technology leadership in the bio-energy space,” Pramod Chaudhari, executive chairman, Praj Industries, said.

”This innovative technology has substantial potential to enhance energy security and help India become energy self-reliant. It uses abundantly available cellulosic biomass while effectively addressing the challenge of agricultural waste management and mitigating pollution. Commercialisation of second generation ethanol technology will give an impetus to rural economy and create additional employment opportunities,” he added.

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