Praj Industry makes breakthrough in bioethanol

April 21st, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by admin  

Pune, April 21 (IANS) Ethanol can now be produced from non-food crops comprising agri-waste and the breakthrough has been achieved by Pune-based Praj Industries, a top company official said Monday. “We have achieved breakthrough technology for production of bio-ethanol from lingocellulosic feedstock, which will address the food versus fuel issue in terms of creating alternate agri-waste feed stock for ethanol production,” Pramod Chaudhari, chairman Praj Industries, told reporters here.

The company has already filed for a patent of the process and targets commercial use of the technology by 2010.

The process involves pre-treatment of agri-waste followed by use of a specific micro-organism for fermentation. “Laboratory studies have been successfully completed and the work on improving the economic viability of the technology is under way,” Chaudhari said.

According to Chaudhari, Praj Industry began working on an alternate non-food energy crop seven to eight years back. The first benchmark came with the technology to produce ethanol from sweet sorghum (a non-edible energy crop), which is already in the commercialization phase and the process for which is already patented.

Along with the announcement of the breakthrough, The Praj Industry also inaugurated its new research and development facility, Matrix the innovation centre, in Pune. The chief guests for the event were K.V. Kamath, managing director of ICICI Bank, and Prakash Telang, executive director of Tata Motors.

Chaudhary also announced development of a high ethanol energy mixture having 25 percent to 35 percent more energy content than regular ethanol, which could be directly blended with gasoline.

“This has been achieved by developing a special micro-organism which converts simple sugar into high energy ethanol mixture. The mixture will have 99 percent more energy compared to gasoline,” said Shahank Inamdar, managing director of Praj Industry. The company has filed two provisional patents for both the processes and the product recovery.

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