Renewable Fuels

Punjab plans for Asian first cellulosic bio-ethanol refinery

The state of Punjab in India is looking to build Asia’s first cellulosic bio-ethanol refinery, and the government is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a consortium from Beta Renewables, Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. The bio-ethanol refinery will cost approximately INR950 crore (USD152.9 million) and will use paddy straw as a feedstock.

CVC India Chairman K. Krishan made a presentation to Bikram Singh Majithia, the new and renewable energy minister of Punjab, on 29 January, proposing a bio-refinery project with a design capacity of 60,000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol per year. He proposed five additional projects, with a total investment of USD1 billion.

Punjab produces 15 million tonnes of paddy straw per year. Once the bio-refinery is operational, about 300,000 tonnes of the paddy straw will be used as feedstock. Other crops in high saline and waterlogged areas can be used as well, which would give farmers additional revenue.

Novozymes and Beta Renewables also helped to build the world’s first commercial-scale bio-ethanol refinery, which is in Crescentino, Italy, and produces cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw, rice straw and arundo donax.

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