In October 2015 Punjab signed MOU for setting up of second generation bioethanol refinery with consortium of Beta Renewables, Novozymes and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. The estimated worth of the project is Rs 950 crore and will use the huge amount of wheat and rice straw generated in the area as feedstock to produce bioethanol. The utilization of these agriculture wastes has been a major problem of Punjab as these are traditionally been burnt and this causes severe loss of land fertility and environmental damages.
In a joint effort between Algenol and Reliance Industries, an algae biofuel production platform has been set up near the Reliance Jamnagar Refinery which is world’s largest oil refinery with 668,000 barrels per day capacity spread in 7500 acre complex. During the initial demonstration cycles which got completed in January 2015 the Algenol’s wildtype host algae strains were used and it was stated that ultimately the capabilities of Algenol’s advanced fuel producing algae and systems would be demonstrated.
Algenol’s algae requires CO2 and saline water to grow. The adjacent Reliance oil refinery fulfils the CO2 requirement while being coastal area salt water requirement can be met. As an estimate Algenol fuel production process is able to convert 1 tonne of CO2 into 144 gallons of fuel while upto 85% of the CO2 used can be recycled into ethanol, gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.
To develop advance biofuel technologies with enhance involvement of biofuel industries five IIT’s and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have started a virtual Centre called ‘DBT-Pan IIT Centre for Bioenergy’. As per the news published in September 2015, 32 investigators from IIT Bombay, Kharagpur, Guwahati, Jodhpur and Roorkee will be involved in this collaborative effort.