Indian Oil Corp (IOC) began operations at its 100 kilolitres/day (Kl/day) second generation (2G) ethanol plant at Panipat in the northern Haryana state on 10 August. Built at a cost of over Indian rupee (Rs) 9bn ($113.4mn), the ethanol plant is located near IOC’s Panipat refinery complex.
Once fully operational, the plant is expected to produce around 30m litres of ethanol using 200,000 tonnes/year of paddy straw as feedstock. Commercial production at the plant is expected by December, and this should help India achieve its target of blending 20% ethanol with auto fuel by 2025.
“Biofuel is the need of the hour as it will help reduce our dependency for fuel and energy on other countries,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the inauguration of IOC’s 2G plant. Twelve centres will be set up to collect feedstock paddy straws from fields in the vicinity of the plant site.
This is also expected help address pollution being caused by the burning of these materials in northern India. “This is just the beginning as ethanol plants will be set up in different parts of the country. Pollution-causing stubble will be used to produce ethanol,” PM Modi said.
State-run oil companies such as IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) have announced plans to invest Rs. 100bn to set up a total of 12 2G ethanol plants across the country.
HPCL is expected to set up four 2G ethanol plants, IOC and BPCL will set up three plants each, while MRPL and Numaligarh Refinery in Assam will set up one each.