Assam: NRL inks deal with foreign companies to set up bio refinery

The bio refinery would generate renewable green fuel-bio-ethanol, other valuable chemicals and green power from bamboo biomass

Representative image. Photo credit - EnergyInfraPost

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Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) has taken a giant step forward by establishing a joint venture, Assam Bio-Refinery Private Limited (ABRPL) with equity participation of M/s Chempolis Oy of Finland and M/s Fortum 3 B.V. of Netherland to build and operate the first of its kind bio refinery in India.

The bio refinery would generate renewable green fuel-bio-ethanol, other valuable chemicals and green power from bamboo biomass.

A press communique issued by NRL stated that the joint venture agreement was signed in New Delhi recently by NRL managing director SK Barua, Sanjay Aggarwal, authorised representative of Fortum 3 B.V. and CEO, Chempolis Oy, Finland Tomi Honkala in the presence of officials from all the partner companies including director (Tech) NRL, BJ Phukan and Head (Legal) Fortum India Pvt. Ltd.

The joint venture company, incorporated on June 4, has three partners with major equity holding of 50 per cent by NRL, 28 per cent by Fortum 3 B.V. Netherland and 22 per cent by Chempolis Oy, Finland.

“NRL’s new venture shall produce 62 million litres of bio-ethanol by using around 0.5 million MT bamboo per annum which is going to be a game changer in terms of additional revenue generation for the bamboo farmers through sustainable cultivation, extraction and transportation of bamboo,” SK Barua, managing director, NRL said on the occasion of signing of the agreement at New Delhi.

“It is indeed a historic moment for India’s North East to garner first major foreign direct investment for setting up its first bamboo-based bio refinery,” he added.

Bioethanol shall be produced from bamboo as feedstock by using pioneering 3G Formicobio technology by a Finnish technology provider M/s Chempolis Oy with other valuable chemicals and bio-coal. Bio-coal will be used for production of steam and green power to the bio-refinery.

The communique further said that the Government of India had recently stepped up its support for production of bio-ethanol, most prominently by means of the new bio-ethanol policy for mandatory blending of ethanol with gasoline up to 10 per cent.

The new bio-ethanol policy aims to spur investments for setting up projects with a total production capacity of 1 billion litres of fuel ethanol every year.

The policy is also aimed at cutting down the country’s significant energy import dependence as well as meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) committed to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

This project has a clear role in the fight against climate change. It can also have a big positive impact on local communities. It will provide employment opportunities for thousands of people and in the long run it will help local communities to become self-sustainable and enhance their living standards.

Smita Bhattacharyya
Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: