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Biofuel facility gets go-ahead in India

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL) is planning to install a second generation (2G) ethanol facility in the state of Karnataka, India.

MRPL has awarded LanzaTech the contract to commence the basic engineering for an integrated processing facility to convert locally available agricultural residues to approximately 16 000 tpy (5.3 million gallons) of fuel grade ethanol. To convert the solid biomass wastes to gases, LanzaTech will deploy commercially proven gasification technology from Ankur Scientific, a waste to energy company that specialises in distributed production, based in Vadodara, India. The resulting carbon rich gas will then be converted to ethanol using LanzaTech’s commercially proven gas fermentation platform. The integrated technology will have the flexibility to process a wide range of biomass feedstocks enabling rapid replication at other locations.

A by-product of the project will be a nutrient rich biochar. This will be used as a sustainable and low carbon source of fertilizer for the local community.

The Indian government is encouraging production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural wastes and residues that would otherwise be burnt on the fields and create harmful pollution. Not only does conversion to ethanol create a new source of income for local farmers, it is also in line with the governments biofuels roadmap to increase production of 2G, non-food or feed based ethanol across the country to meet its 20% ethanol blending mandate by 2030.

“In these times of huge changes and economic challenges, this project will hopefully define what the future could look like. This is a project that will not only make clean fuel but will put most of the money back into the local economy and create much needed rural jobs,” said Ankur Jain, Managing Director of Ankur Scientific. “Local agricultural residues from rural areas, with jobs in rural areas generating an advanced Biofuel – Can anything be better? We look forward to successfully commissioning this first of many projects.”

“This project with MRPL will show that a local distributed model is ideally suited to the production of fuels and chemicals through biotechnology,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “MRPL’s commitment to sustainable development, local jobs and carbon emissions reduction is exemplified by this project and we are delighted to work with them to showcase the viability of distributed fuels production. If COVID and climate change are to teach us anything, it is that we must build resilient systems, this means distributed production must become an important part of the future of fuel production.”

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