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Numaligarh biorefinery to be completed in 2021

The first biorefinery in the world producing cellulosic ethanol and bio-based chemicals from bamboo while producing green power as byproduct for local use, which is coming up at Numaligarh, will be completed by 2021.

Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), Finland’s Chempolis Ltd and Finnish energy company Fortum 3 BV had established a joint venture Assam Bio Refinery Private Limited in 2018 for building and operating the biorefinery.
Chempolis CEO Tomi Honkala said he was confident that the biorefinery will be operational in planned schedule. “Our joint venture is currently finalising the technical process details. Construction work of the refinery has started… Target date for beginning operations at the site is set for the year 2021,” Honkala was quoted as saying in Chempolis official website.

NRL managing director SK Barua was on a visit to Finland for a review of the biorefinery project and to hold discussion on strategic options for growth. He also held a discussion with Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Skinnari during his official tour to Chempolis Biorefinery Park at Oulu.

Skinnari was also given an up-to-date on the 160 million euro biorefinery project in Assam. “We had an affirmative and fruitful discussion with the board of Chempolis and executive management of Fortum,” Baruah told The Assam Tribune on his return.

“It is now our joint role to accelerate growth of 2G biorefinery plants in our country by reshaping the energy system and improving resource efficiency and at the same time bring a sustainable development to the farming community of the Northeast,” he said.

The biorefinery will use 300,000 tonnes of bamboo annually from the vast natural and cultivated bamboo reserves of Northeast India. The plant will produce annually 60 million litres of bioethanol, 19,000 tonnes of furfural, 11,000 tonnes of acetic acid, and 144 gigawatt hours of green energy.

Chempolis is the licensor of the plant’s advanced technology and is providing technical expertise. Barua said NRL has invested heavily on the cooperation with Chempolis in India.

“We strongly believe that Chempolis’s technology is the future and the investment return rate will be excellent compared to the other technologies. The goal of the Indian government is to increase bioethanol’s share from the current 3.3 per cent to 20 per cent by 2030,” he said.

“Accomplishing this goal will require the construction of many more similar plants the size of the biorefinery our joint venture is constructing. It will be a huge market,” Barua added.

The biorefinery, the ceremonial foundation stone of which was laid on February 9 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be the first biorefinery in the world producing cellulosic ethanol and bio-based chemicals from bamboo, while producing green power as byproduct for local use. Bio-ethanol will be blended to petrol by NRL in order to reduce carbon footprint of its fuels and to reduce the dependence on imported crude.

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