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India’s First Bio Refinery Plant inaugurated in Pune

Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated India’s First Integrated Bio‐refinery for Renewable Fuels & Chemicals for producing ethanol from a variety of biomass. The plant is situated at Rahu in Pune district of Maharashtra. The demonstration plant has been built by Praj industries.

The inaugurated Bio‐refinery plant is capable of producing one million litres of ethanol per annum by processing a variety of biomass like rice and wheat straw, cotton stalk, bagasse, cane trash, corn cobs  & stover with superior product yields.

In 2015, the Government has asked Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to target 10 % blending of ethanol in as many States as possible.  The fuel doping programme that required blending of 5% ethanol had started in November 2012. It was notified under the Motor Spirits Act on January 2, 2013. The Government has also allowed the OMCs to procure ethanol produced from other non-food feedstocks, like cellulosic and lignocellulosic materials including petrochemical route.

Significance

Biofuel is cost‐effective and pollution‐free. Ethanol blending is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol. Globally many countries including India, have resorted to ethanol blending to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions  

The inauguration of the refinery paves the way for stepping up 20% ethanol blending program and can reduce the import burden of crude petroleum.

Biofuels

Biofuels are fuels which are in some way derived from biomass. The term covers solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases and also denotes Biodiesel, Bio-alcohol and bio-gasoline. Common Biofuel Crops The most common Biofuel crops include Corn, Rapeseed/Canola, Sugarcane, Palm Oil, Jatropha, Soyabean, Cottonseed, Sunflower seeds, Wheat, Sugarbeet, Cassava, Algae, Coconut, Jojoba, Castor Beans etc.

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