After announcing last year that it would build a demonstration plant for second generation—or cellulosic —ethanol, Praj Industries has finally started its construction.
At $25 million, this will demonstrate Praj’s plant engineering and solution capability in cellulosic ethanol, made from agro-waste unlike first generation fuel that is made from food crops. With crude petroleum prices soaring, ethanol blending in fossil fuels looks attractive. But India missed its June 30 deadline for a compulsory five percent ethanol blend in petrol and diesel. This has forced technology suppliers to focus on the global market and Indian producers to refrain from investing in ethanol production. Praj says it is in talks with “strategic investors, including overseas entities and Indian government agencies, for funding under specific schemes”.