GUWAHATI: The Centre has decided to invest Rs 1259 crore to produce ethanol, renewable fuel from bamboo in Assam.
The Bongaigaon Refinery in Chirang district will implement the multi-crore bamboo-ethanol fuel project.
“Bamboo is in abundance in the North Eastern States particularly Assam. It grows everywhere. With an aim to keep up with India’s surging demand for the fuel, the Centre is looking at options to keep oil imports under check and is trying to make a 10-per cent reduction in the country’s energy imports by 2022,” an official associated with the oil industry told The Sentinel.
The official said the oil companies have been investing in biofuel refineries to boost ethanol production from non-molasses sources such as agricultural residues and municipal waste. With the government’s support, the biofuel industry in the country is set to grow into a $15 billion market by 2020, he said.
The Numaligarh Refinery is already implementing plans to produce 60 million litres of ethanol every year by using the abundant bamboo resource available in the North East to boost biofuel use for cutting down crude imports. The official said the Centre is now ready to invest Rs 1,259 crore in Bongaigaon Refinery to produce ethanol from bamboo.
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said the Centre has taken up an ambitious plan to convert Assam into an epicenter for exporting petrol, diesel and other hydrocarbon products to the South East Asian countries.
Pradhan said his ministry has asked the oil producing companies to invest their profits in creating necessary infrastructures in North Eastern States to enable the region to feed the needs of hydrocarbon products of the South East Asian nations.
An amount of Rs 9,225 crore is being invested for the 1,650 km gas grid project by the oil companies, connecting all the eight northeastern States. The ONGC will invest Rs 1,300 crore in Assam in the next five years, 30 per cent more than what the oil giant had invested in the last five years.
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