Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Bamboo to Bio-Fuel: Finland's Fortum to invest Euro 13.5 million in 2nd generation Bio-Refinery at Numaligarh, Assam.


PradhanMantri Modi has laid the foundation stone for Assam Bio-Refinery project. Fortum brings in biggest FDI to the North East, in a single greenfield project.

Fortum 3 BV, 100% subsidiary of Fortum Oyj, Finland with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), an Indian state-owned oil refinery company, and Chempolis, a Finnish technology company, had signed a joint venture for building and operating a bio-refinery in Assam, India. PM Modi along with key officials from Numaligarh Refinery Ltd, Fortum and Chempolis performed the Bhoomipoojan ceremony for the upcoming bio-refinery. The construction of the refinery is expected to be completed by June 2021. 

As part of this venture, Fortum and Chempolis will invest in 50% equity stake, while Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) holds a majority 50%. The first-of-its-kind bio-refinery will be based on formico-technology developed by Chempolis. The key raw material of the bio-refinery is bamboo. The main product bio-ethanol will be sold to NRL who will blend it to petrol. In addition, bio-refinery produces other biochemical and biocoal. Biocoal will be used in CHP plant to produce heat and power to the bio-refinery. Excess power will be sold to NRL's oil refinery where it will replace fossil electricity production. Fortum commits to invest Euro 13.5 Million in a Project of Euro 160 Million.

Bio fuel generated from biomass will save approximately 60 Million US Dollars annually.

The usage of bio fuels aims to solve many critical issues like saving foreign exchange, waste management and providing domestic & clean energy sources. We are living in a world with diminishing natural resources, and we aspire to be one of the forerunners in resource efficiency. For the world's future, biomass is a valuable raw material that can be used to produce many more products of value than today. India has decided to set-up 12 bio-refineries across India which will produce ethanol from bamboo, sugarcane and rice bran. The move towards sustainable development will also help farmers to increase their income. Years to come, the farmer of this country will become an oil producer.

Fortum's Bio2X programme investigates new business opportunities with fractioning-based technologies and end-products of the process. Fortum is currently testing several different fractioning methods. The company has also co-operation projects with different companies to test the end products of different methods.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.

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