India Aims to Cut Crude Oil Consumption, Plans to Switch With Bamboo Ethanol by March
Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), a subsidiary of Oil India, is gearing up to commence ethanol production at its biorefinery in Assam, India, from March, as announced by the company's Managing Director, Bhaskar Phukan.
October 11, 2023. By News Bureau
India, the world's third-largest consumer and importer of oil, is pursuing strategies to reduce its dependence on crude oil by adopting sustainable alternatives like biofuels. The nation aims to double the ethanol blending with gasoline to 20% by 2025.
The Assam biorefinery, a joint effort involving NRL and Finnish partners Chempolis and Fortum, comes with a hefty price tag of INR 40 billion. It stands out as India's pioneer in utilising bamboo as a feedstock and is projected to produce 50,000 tonnes of ethanol annually, along with 16,000 tonnes of furfural and 11,000 tonnes of acetic acid. Furfural serves as a key component for adhesives.
The northeastern region of India is renowned for its abundant bamboo cultivation, making it an ideal choice for feedstock. NRL holds a 50 percent stake in this transformative project.
Bhaskar Phukan highlighted the surplus availability of bamboo, stating, "There are no buyers of bamboo in the region as paper mills have closed down. So, plenty of bamboo is available."
Furthermore, Phukan indicated the company's plans to obtain the necessary certificates to enable furfural export to European markets after catering to local demand.
He also revealed NRL's exploration of smaller-sized projects in Mizoram and Meghalaya, suggesting substantial potential for cost optimization in future refinery endeavors, although no specific timeline for these new projects was provided.
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