BPCL partners Odisha University to produce biofuel out of paddy straw

The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) have signed an MoU for production of biofuel from paddy based straw

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Bhubaneshwar: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been inked between Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) for production of biofuel from paddy based straw. The BPCL’s technology partnership with OUAT is aimed at effective utilization of rice straw for biofuel production in a biochemical enzymatic process with the financial support of Rs 5 crore.

Out of the total budget, Rs 2 crore will be used as a corpus for BPCL chair and Rs 3 crore as research contingency for development, establishment, and popularization of the biofuel production technology.

The MoU was signed in presence of Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, Orissa Agriculture Secretary, Saurabh Garg and OUAT Vice Chancellor, Surendranath Pasupalak.

Odisha witnesses an annual production of 85 lakh tonnes rice with the approximate production of 100 lakh tonnes of paddy straw. The bulk of the straw is used for fodder and other domestic purposes while there was no proper economic utilization of the paddy straw as of now. 

This endeavor is in line with the policy decision for supplementation of 10 percent straw based ethanol for increasing fuel efficiency and reducing the pressure on fossil fuel.

Mr Dharmendra Pradhan while addressing the audience informed that the union government is also going to set up an ethanol plant at Bargarh with an estimated cost of Rs 750 crore. “The main raw material of the plant is rice straw. This project will not only increase the income of farmers, it will reduce the pressure on fossil fuel,” he added.

This agreement has a direct link with the Bargarh project. The BPCL Chair and a state-of-the-art laboratory at the OUAT will conduct research on different varieties of rice or other crops to know whether its byproducts help in producing quality ethanol or not. It will also select the crops which can become ideal raw material for ethanol.

“Rice straw predominantly contains cellulose. We can produce ethanol from the cellulose in a bio-chemical enzymatic process. A professor will lead the BPCL Chair to conduct study on extraction of quality ethanol from best varieties of crops including cereals,” mentioned Mr Surendranath Pasupalak.