Praj to build second ethanol plant for Tata Chem

18 October 2007 09:41  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Indian ethanol technology supplier Praj Industries will build a second plant for Tata Chemicals after the first one comes on stream in the second half of 2008, a Praj official said on Thursday.

The second phase will have an ethanol capacity of 100,000 litres/day and would cost around $27m-28m (€18.9m-19.6m),  Praj vice-president Yash Mankame said on the sidelines of a two-day ethanol and biofuels conference that ends on Thursday.

Tata Chemicals is building a 30,000 litre/day unit at Nanded in Maharashtra which will use sweet sorghum as feedstock.

Sweet sorghum is a new feedstock for ethanol, Mankame said, adding that the plant could be harvested in 38 weeks or twice a year.

The crop also requires 25% less water and 30% less fertilizer than sugar cane, he said.

It also does not compete with other food products unlike sugarcane which is used to make sugar and molasses in monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Praj has started sweet sorghum plantation trials in southeast Asia, Taiwan and Australia.

In the Philippines, where there is a shortage of ethanol feedstock, the company is involved in at least 10 plantation trials and is in talks with a couple of companies which are interested in building ethanol units.

It will also shortly start trials in Indonesia, Mankame said.

Praj is also involved in trials in Thailand, but the country has enough cassava, molasses and sugarcane feedstocks, he added.

Development in Australia is also slower as feedstock costs are higher and the sugar industry is not doing well, Mankame said, adding that Praj is carrying out trials with Pacific Seeds.

($1 = €0.70)

By: Florence Tan
+65 6780 4359

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