Praj Industries, Aker Kvaerner forge a bio-ethanol alliance in Europe

Praj Industries Ltd has signed a MOU with Aker Kvaerner Netherlands BV for strategic cooperation on bio-ethanol projects in Europe. The two companies will pool in their expertise to jointly pursue business opportunities with Praj supplying the process licence, process engineering, and critical and proprietary equipment for the process plant, while Aker Kvaerner will provide basic engineering, procurement and construction expertise.

The European Union (EU) bio-fuels directive has set a target of 5.75 per cent (by energy content) inclusion of bio-fuels in the transportation fuel mix by 2010. Many EU countries are fast developing a fuel ethanol programmes. France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and others have announced either a policy or a grant for promotion of fuel ethanol.

Pune-based Praj Industries specialises in technology, design, engineering, manufacture and supply of equipment for distillery plants, ethanol plants, brewery plants and related effluent treatment plants and is the owner of preparatory information related to various processes in the field. (See: Praj Industries cultivates sweet sorghum to make blended fuels and Praj Industries awarded distillery orders by Bajaj Hindustan) "Praj has found acceptance for its technology in global markets. This alliance will further position Praj very favourably in Europe, as Aker Kvaerner is well respected for its engineering, procurement and construction capability worldwide," said Pramod Chaudhari, chairman, Praj Industries Ltd. Praj also has plans to set up an operating base in the EU shortly to augment its marketing efforts.

As bio-ethanol is a renewable fuel derived from plants (such as cereals, sugar beet etc.) or biomass (such as wood waste), the primary environmental benefit is the reduction of CO2 emissions. The use of bio-ethanol can lead to up to a 70 per cent reduction in overall CO2 emissions compared to a traditional petrol only engine. Bio-ethanol used as part of the fuel, by blending with petrol, for a motor vehicle is called fuel-ethanol. Bio-ethanol can be blended in various proportions in petrol.