HPCL investing Rs600 cr to set up India's first 2G ethanol bio-refinery

Public sector refiner and oil marketing company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), is investing around Rs600 crore to set up the first second generation (2G) ethanol bio-refinery plant in India.

The foundation stone for the plant, being set up at Tarkhanwala village in Bathinda district of Punjab, will be laid on 25 December.

Minister of food processing industries Harsimarat Kaur Badal, minister of state (I/C) petroleum & natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan and deputy chief minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal will jointly lay the foundation stone for the project.

The government is encouraging production of ethanol from agricultural residues to provide additional sources of remuneration to farmers and to address the growing environmental concerns. It will also support the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme for achieving the government's target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol.

The Bathinda bio-refinery will utilise agriculture residues for production of 100 KL per day or 32 million litres per annum of ethanol, which may be sufficient to meet 26 per cent of the ethanol blending requirement of the state. The proposed bio-refinery will generate employment for about 1,200 -1,300 persons in the biomass supply chain and generate an additional income of approximately Rs20 crore per annum for the farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues.

The project will also help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting.

One of the major outputs of this bio-refinery will be bio-fertiliser approximating 30,000 tonnes per annum, which will be incorporated into the soil for improving soil fertility and overall productivity of farms in Punjab. The bio-refinery will also produce more than 1.00 lakh kg of bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements.

Oil PSUs, in line with vision laid down by government, are planning to set up twelve 2G ethanol bio-refineries across 11 states, including Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and AP.

The estimated investment for the 12 bio-refineries is Rs10,000 crore. These bio-refineries will produce around 350- 400 million litres of ethanol annually, thus contributing significantly towards the EBP programme.

At Petrotech-2016 expo on 7 December 2016, oil PSUs also entered into 6 MoUs with technology licensors and state governments for setting up bio-refineries in Dahej (Gujarat), Panipat (Haryana), Bina (MP), Bargarh (Odisha) and Bathinda (Punjab).

The bio-refinery at Bathinda is the first step towards achieving 10 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol. Similar 2G bio-refineries at other places are expected to be set up soon.