Finnish, Indian partners to build bamboo biorefinery

Bamboo. Author: Fiona Campbell-Howes. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

May 2 (Renewables Now) - Finnish biorefining technology company Chempolis, compatriot energy group Fortum Oyj (HEL:FORTUM) and Indian state-owned oil company Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) will build a EUR-160-million (USD 192m) biorefinery in the Indian state of Assam that will use bamboo as feedstock.

The companies have set up a joint venture (JV) to own the plant, where NRL holds 50%, Fortum 28% and Chempolis 22%, the latter announced on Wednesday. Construction is due to start in the autumn of 2018, with start-up targeted for 2020.  

The biorefinery will process 300,000 tonnes of bamboo a year, found in abundance in northeastern India, and will produce 60 million litres (15.85 million gallons) of bioethanol to be sold to NRL for blending into petrol. It will also produce biochemicals and biocoal, which will be used to generate heat and power for the biorefinery, with surplus power to be sold to NRL's oil refinery.

The facility will be based on Chempolis' formico-technology. Fortum said in a separate statement that the JV is part of its Bio2x research and development (R&D) programme which pursues more efficient biomass use by separating the biomass and exploiting all usable fractions.

Chempolis, in which Fortum owns 34%, said the project supports the Indian government's goal of increasing local bioethanol production and reducing fossil fuel imports.  

(EUR 1 = USD 1.200) 

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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