The state-owned Gujrat Alkaline and Chemical ltd. (GACL) and Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to lay out plans for a new 500,000 liters/day Bio-Ethanol plant in Gujrat with an initial investment of USD 134.7 million. This is a major step by the PSUs to achieve the target set by the Indian authority to surpass China and became the third-largest Ethanol producing nation after USA and Brazil.
The MoU is signed in by the representatives of both organizations in Gandhinagar in presence of the Chief Minister of Gujrat Bhuperndrabhai Patel. Bio-Ethanol is an alternative for fossil fuel that can be used for gasoline blending and a form of renewable energy that can be produced from agricultural feedstocks through microbial fermentation. This development in the self-sufficiency of Gasoline will reduce the dependence of India on imported Crude Oil from the Middle East.
According to the new reforms introduced by the NITI Aayog in Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-2025. This Bio-Ethanol plant is probably based on the second generation (2G) feedstock for the production of Ethanol, which also encourages the usage of lower water-consuming foodgrain crops like maize as a feedstock. According to the survey conducted in FY 2019-2020 country’s Sugarcane, FCI rice, and Maize crops were available in surplus availability of 6 million tonnes, 31 million tonnes, and 10.3 million tonnes which ultimately provide an adequate amount of biomass for the persistent production of Ethanol in the country.
In addition, feedstocks such as rice straw, wheat straw, corn cobs, corn stover, bagasse, bamboo, and woody biomass can also be used for the production of Ethanol. The production of Bio-Ethanol from non-food feedstocks is called “Advanced Biofuels” including the second generation (2G) should be prompted to tap these available waste resources without causing any hindrance with the food production.