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Praj Industries Revs up Cellulosic Ethanol Plan

Published: Aug 26, 2013 06:56:29 AM IST
Updated: Aug 23, 2013 10:56:43 AM IST
Praj Industries Revs up Cellulosic Ethanol Plan
Image: Vikas Khot
Praj Executive chairman Pramod Chaudhary

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”.  

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(This story appears in the 06 September, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Subhendra Kumar Mohapatra

    I feel that as an alternative fuel we should go with sugarcane based ethanol fuel. Because as quickly we proceed in this regard we will be self sufficient in this field and can save a lot of foreign currency. We will be less dependent on the other country for petroleum products. In earlier government they have discouraged the promoters of alternative fuel, for which a lot of people suffered the loss. We hope that this government will look after this mater and proceed further by taking quick steps. If we are going with sugarcane based ethanol then bellow mentioned benefit we can get. 1. Agriculture: First of all there will be a big boost in agriculture in our country. It will be easy for our farmers to grow sugarcane, because it is a old thing in our country and they are having the experience in it. If you ask our farmers to do something new like Jethropha or anything new like this then our farmers will hesitate to do, because of risk involvement. So sugarcane is the best for our country. If we can give market to the farmers for their products then they will come forward in a huge numbers and can get a lot of benefit out of it. 2. Industry: Secondly there will be a growth of industrialisation in our country. Lot of sugar industries are sick or closed in our country now and the owners are suffering a huge loss in this regard, you can take the example of sugar industries in Uttar Pradesh. Those industries can be revived very easily and new most modernised sugar industries also will come up. After getting molasses from sugar industries we will have to go for ethanol plants and that should not be with private parties, it should be with the government control. For which you will have to go with IOCL or BPCL or HPCL or can float a new company under your ministry. 3. Employment: Thirdly there will be a huge opportunity of employment in the sugar industries for both skilled and unskilled workers. Also there will be a huge requirement of employs in new ethanol plant. In such industries we can open passage for management level officers to unskilled workers with a better approach. 4. Logistic: For such type of work different type of logistic is required from the low level pick-up van to the big bulk tankers. In this logistic work lot of people will get the engagement as the owner of the vehicle, drivers, helpers, etc. A lot of people will get the opportunity for their engagement and livelihood in an indirect way. 5. Chipper fuel: Then people of our country will get chipper fuel then what they are getting today. Always bio-fuel is chipper then the petroleum fuel as per today’s market condition. 6. Less dependent: In future our country will not depend on other countries for the gasoline fuel. We can be self sufficient in this regard. 7. Saving of foreign currency: The foreign currency what we are spending today for the purchase of petroleum products can be saved in a bigger way. Those FC’s can be utilised in other field of our country for more improvement. 8. Modernisation of automobile industry: Presently all multinational automobile industries are having there plant and operation in our country. They will have to modify their engines, which will be suitable for running it in ethanol. For that they will have to go for further investment in our country. 9. FDI: Also there is a scope of foreign direct investment in this field. We can get companies from USA, Brazil and Japan to invest in this field as per my knowledge. 10. Export of sugar: Presently we are importing sugar from other countries. If we operate in this way then we can also be one of the largest exporter of sugar in the world. Presently our Prime Minster Mr. Narendra Modi is visiting Brazil in the month of July 2014, this will be a good opportunity to discus in this regard with the counter part there, because Brazil is the second largest producer of ethanol in the world. We can get the good technology from them. If you can visit with him there with your team then it will be nice for the country. I hope this proposal can be implemented under your ministry very easily and smoothly for the benefit of all Indians. I am always ready to serve for my country. So if I can get an opportunity to serve for the benefit of my country I will be ever grateful to you. With warm regards, S.K.Mohapatra. Cell: 917377602960.

    on Jul 7, 2014
  • Mohammad Tasleem Ansari

    I like their plan

    on Aug 31, 2013