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viernes, 23 de diciembre de 2016

Agreements to set up several cellulosic ethanol biorefineries in India

All the signs are that India will soon be one of the most important players in the 2G ethanol sector. This country adopted the National Policy on Biofuels (NPB, December 2009) in order to strengthen its commitment to promote a sustainable biofuels industry. The policy encourages the use of renewable fuels and proposes a 20 percent biofuel (ethanol and biodiesel) mandate by the end of 2017. In India, ethanol is commonly derived from molasses. However, current estimates indicate that molasses alone will not be able to provide enough ethanol to meet the blending mandates. Moreover, there has been much criticism of the use and sustainability of 1G biofuels derived from food crops.1

A big extension of India’s land is used for agriculture, producing massive amounts of crop residues that could be used for 2G biofuels production. Sustainably produced advanced ethanol can potentially promote rural development and improve economic conditions in developing regions. For all that, 2G ethanol is gaining growing attention. However, the NPB does not allow private biofuel manufacturers to market directly. The responsibility for biofuel storage, distribution and marketing is vested in Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). Price and minimum quality requirements are also laid out in the NPB.

In this context, Praj announced on 8th December several agreements with leading OMCs to set up 2G ethanol plants. These agreements were signed during the recently concluded PETROTECH 2016, held in New Delhi. In the table below, a summary of the expected locations and capacities for the new plants is shown. Project timelines and capital outlay estimations are under finalisation.
Panipat (Haryana)
100 kL per day
Dahej (Gujarat)
100 kL per day
Bargarh (Odisha)
100 kL per day

Praj is a knowledge based company with expertise in bioprocesses and engineering. It has over 750 references across five continents (bioethanol facilities, brewery plants, wastewater treatment systems, critical process equipment and systems…). For instance, Vivergo Biofuels selected Praj services for its Hull Biorefinery.

Figure 1. Integrated lignocellulosic biorefinery approach of Praj (extracted from Reference 3)

Praj’s 2G ethanol technology is called Enfinity and it is based on an integrated biorefinery approach. In 2009, it inaugurated the Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant at Praj Matrix (R&D centre in Urawade). Pilot plant trials validated work done at laboratory scale. Continuing its effort in bringing new technologies to the ethanol industry, it decided to scale up the pilot plant and built a 2G commercial demo plant in 2012. According to some references, the commissioning was targeted by 2nd half 2014 but the blog could not find evidences of the start up of this plant. This demonstration project is supposed to be located at a sugar mill near Pune, have a proccesing capacity of 100 dry tonnes of biomass per day and produce 25,000 – 30,000 liters of ethanol per day.2,3
1 P. Purohit, S. Dhar: “Biofuel Roadmap for India”. UNEP DTU Partnership, Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development. Technical University of Denmark. November 2015.
2 G. Deshpande: “Praj Advanced Cellulosic Ethanol Project – PACE”. 17th June 2013. Presentation available online:
3 A. Sheth: “Biomass to Bioethanol - Second Generation Technology by Praj”. 18th-19th February 2016. Presentation available online:

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