Chempolis Limited, a Finland-based biorefining technology corporation, has entered into partnership with India-based Avantha Group’s research wing—Avantha Centre for Industrial Research & Development (ACIRD)—on technology to produce ethanol from various agricultural residues for fuel blending.
India’s agricultural sector produces large amounts of bagasse, cane trash, rice and wheat straw the disposal of which is an environmental problem. The partnership will help to deliver biorefining technology to India to convert biomass waste to clean sugars to be further converted to cellulosic ethanol and other bio-based chemicals.
India has had a 5% ethanol blending target which has not been met, as ethanol derived from molasses costs more than gasoline (without taxes). India also does not permit ethanol imports. Nevertheless, the country just doubled its target of blending ethanol with gasoline to 10% in an effort to reduce pollution and to help money-losing sugar companies.
Currently only a small percentage of ethanol blending ratio is reached due to lack of traditional raw materials and proper technologies. This partnership can help India achieve 10% ethanol blending levels in petrol and 20% blending ratio by 2017.—Rajeev Vederah, Chairman, ACIRD
Chempolis’ 3G formicobio technology is based on selective fractionation of biomass and co-production of multiple products; the technology is not just for the production of biofuels (e.g. ethanol), but the produced sugars and lignin can be used as a platform into a number of different products.
formicobio technology fractionates all the main components present in lignocellulose into cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. The selectivity of the process enables the application of optimized processes for each fraction.
The pure cellulose produced can be enzymatically hydrolyzed into pure glucose easily, using less enzymes. Pure glucose can be fermented into ethanol rapidly. In addition to providing the base for bioethanol, glucose is also a platform for various biochemicals.
Pure hemicellulose sugars can be processed into ethanol, furfural, and acetic acid. A versatile xylose platform can be tailored according to customer needs.
The pure lignin produced can be used in energy generation (making a biorefinery based on formicobio technology self-sufficient in energy) or can be refined into end-product.
formicobio is based on the use of a novel sulfur-free biosolvent, which enables the biosolvent and water circulation within the process to be fully closed, preventing the generation of waste.
Chempolis has entered into other ethanol partnership agreements in India over the past few years: with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (earlier post); with NRL (earlier post); and with ONGC (earlier post) for example.
Avantha Group is one of India’s leading business conglomerates. The Group has business interests in diverse areas, including pulp and paper, power transmission and distribution equipment and services, food processing, farm forestry, chemicals, energy, infrastructure, information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services.