Praj 2G bio-refineries for OMCs on track; compressed gas added to tech basket

  • Jan 11, 2019
  • The Financial Express

Praj Industries is on track to execute three bio-refinery projects based on their proprietary second-generation bio refinery (2G) technology for oil marketing companies (OMCs). It has also started work on an integrated demo plant and added compressed bio-gas (CBG) to its technology basket.

Praj has developed technology for conversion of cellulosic biomass to second generation renewable fuels, biogas and chemicals. It is the first company to launch an integrated bio-refinery demo plant and is currently executing three commercial plants for the Indian OMCs. There are 12 such plants planned by the government out of which work has started on five and Praj is working on three of these plants.

Praj’s had developed its CBG technology and has unveiled its roadmap for commercialisation of the CBG technology.

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CBG is a complementary renewable transportation fuel to CNG. Praj’s demo plant will test, improve and optimise production of CBG from different feedstock such as biomass, press mud, variety of agri waste, paper mill pith, dairy and poultry waste.

This push into bio-fuel technologies follows the release of the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation policy in October 2018 which envisages implementation of 5,000 compressed bio-gas plants in the next five years, said Pramod Chaudhari, executive chairman, Praj Industries. The company has been working on these new generation technologies since 2009 and the government’s 2018 bio-fuel policy has been the turning point for the bio-fuel industry, Chaudhari added.

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The success of these plants being set up by OMCs and the RoI will pave the way for private investment to flow into this sector, he indicated. According to him, this will also generate additional income for farmers and also deal with the problem of pollution caused by burning of agri waste. The government has announced an attractive price of Rs 46 per kilo for this CBG for three years and a 10 year off take contract which made it a very viable proposition.

The three plants based on the 2G technology are on target to be completed by end 2020 and early 2021, says Chaudhari. The plant and machinery require an investment of around Rs 600 crore.

The ground-breaking for the integrated demo plant of CBG was carried out at the Shreenath Mhaskoba Sugar Factory, adjacent to existing 2nd Gen Bio-Refinery demo facility, by Anil Kakodkar, chairman of high level committee & scientific advisory committee on hydrocarbons, ministry of petroleum and natural gas.

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Kakodkar said that with the advent of 2nd gen technology, bio-energy has significant role to play in energy mix. He said Praj’s approach of integrating bio-ethanol, a liquid fuel and CBG, a gaseous fuel , was well thought out as it captured larger value from biomass.

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