Governor of Odisha Professor Ganeshi Lal laid foundation stone for second generation (2G) ethanol bio-refinery of Bharat Petroleum Corporation at Baulasingha village, Bhatli Tehsil, Bargarh district, Odisha Wednesday. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was present on the occasion.
The bio-refinery will have a capacity to produce three crore litres of fuel grade ethanol annually using rice straw as the feedstock. Ethanol produced from this plant will be blended with Petrol. The cost of the project is around Rs 100 crore.
Biofuels have assumed importance recently due to the growing energy security needs and environmental concerns. Several countries have put forth different mechanism and incentives to encourage production and use of biofuels to suit their domestic requirements. India has surplus biomass availability of about 120-160 MMT annually which if converted, has the potential to yield 3,000 crore litres of ethanol. The National Biofuel Policy of India 2018 targets 20 percent ethanol blending to petrol by year 2030. However, due to non-availability of ethanol, the current ethanol blending in petrol is about 3 to 4 percent.
According to the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, setting up of 2G ethanol plants will help achieve the target of ethanol blending in petrol. The Bargarh bio-refinery will utilise about two lakh tonnes of rice straw annually as feedstock which will be sourced from nearby locations like Bhati, Ambabhona, Sohela, Burla, Lakhanpur among surrounding areas.
The plant is based on zero-liquid discharge plant technology where all water will be recycled back into the plant. In addition to cleaner environment, the project will also help improve the socio-economic conditions of the farmers due to additional income from sale of rice straw to the bio-refinery. Also, this will generate employment for approximately 1200 persons during construction, operation of plant and supply chain management of biomass. This will boost the infrastructural development in the area and overall improvement in livelihood of people. Further, blending of ethanol enhances self-sufficiency of the nation by reducing oil imports, thereby saving foreign exchange.