NRL tie-up on bio-refinery

The Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) has inked a framework agreement with its technology partner, Chempolis Oy, Finland, to implement a bio-refinery project.

By Roopak Goswami in Guwahati
  • Published 24.02.17
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Officials of NRL and Chempolis shake hands after signing the agreement in Guwahati.
Picture courtesy: NRL

Guwahati, Feb. 23: The Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) has inked a framework agreement with its technology partner, Chempolis Oy, Finland, to implement a bio-refinery project.

The bio-refinery project is designed to produce 49,000 tonnes of bio-ethanol annually, with the co-production of furfural and acetic acid from locally available non-food bio-mass feedstock, using the technology.

The state government has pledged support to the project and termed the project a game changer for Assam's economy. The project is estimated to cost Rs 950 crore.

"Bamboo is one of the major non-food biomass resources available abundantly in the Northeast and among the fastest-growing plants. The plant will have the capacity to process five lakh tonnes of green bamboo on an annual basis. The bio-ethanol will be primarily used to blend NRL petrol with the surplus, as mandated by the National Policy on Bio-fuels, to be sold to other oil marketing companies," an NRL statement said today.

The agreement was signed here yesterday between the general manager (marketing and business development), B. Ekka, and the general manager, finance, S.D. Maheshwari, representing NRL and the chairperson, Heli Antila, and the director, Asia Pacific and America, Pasi Rousu, of Chempolis. Also present were the director, finance, NRL, S.K. Barua, the senior vice-president (tech and new ventures) Fortum Corporation, Finland, Per Langer, the former ambassador of India to Finland, A. Manickam, and senior NRL officials.

The agreement undertakes to implement the bio-refinery project in two phases.

Phase one, to be completed in six months, will involve basic engineering, completion of the environment impact assessment, obtaining environmental clearance, including public hearing, in-principle agreement on modalities and logistics of sourcing bamboo feedstock, updating the financial feasibility report and debt financing arrangement.

After the first phase, the full-fledged construction of the plant shall be initiated through formation of a joint venture company.

The project is expected to give a fillip to bamboo cultivation in the region, generating employment and ushering in socio-economic transformation of the Northeast.

The NRL has inked MoUs with Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency and Arunachal Pradesh Bamboo Resources Development Agency in the later part of 2015 to source bamboo for the bio-refinery.