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Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan today laid the foundation stone of Odisha’s first second-generation bio-ethanol refinery being set-up by government-owned fuel retailer Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) in Bargarh district.
Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony, BPCL Chairman and Managing Director D Rajkumar said the company is aiming at commissioning the refinery, with a capacity to produce 3 crore litre of bio-ethanol per annum, by August 2020 at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.
He added that the company will source rice, wheat and other agriculture waste materials from within the 50-Kilometer radius of the Bargarh district.
“India’s dependence on oil imports is being seriously reviewed by the government. Last financial year, the country imported around 220 Million Tonne of crude oil valued at over $88 billion. As only 24 per cent of the ethanol requirement is met by the sugar molasses route, 2G bio-ethanol refineries will go a long way in meeting the requirement,” Rajkumar said.
Oil sector Public sector Undertakings (PSUs) are currently planning to set up 12 2G Ethanol Bio-refineries across 11 States including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, M.P, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The overall investment for erecting the 12 Bio-refineries is currently estimated at around Rs 10,000 crore. These bio-refineries are expected to produce around 35-40 crore litres of ethanol annually, helping the Ethanol Blending Programme.
“India’s first 2G Bio Ethanol Refinery to come up in Odisha’s Bargarh district. The bio-refinery will produce 3 crore litre of fuel-grade ethanol annually using rice straw as feedstock, augment farmers income and contribute to a cleaner environment,” Pradhan said in a twitter post.
The government had earlier this year approved the National Policy on bio-fuel, which allows blending of ethanol produced from damaged foodgrains, rotten potatoes, corn and sugar beet with petrol. The policy aims at cutting oil imports by Rs 4,000 crore in the current financial year.
The new policy also provides for Rs 5,000 crore Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for setting up the 2G bio-ethanol refineries over six years in addition to tax incentives and higher purchase price as compared to production first generation biofuel.
Pradhan had earlier assured the bio-fuel industry state-owned oil firms will provide 100 per cent offtake and hand-holding during the transitory phase until it develops into a full-fledged industry.
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