Praj Industries commences jet fuel production from alcohol

Industrial biotechnology company Praj Industries has started the first pilot project in the country to make aviation turbine fuel from alcohol. The company’s research and development unit in Pirangut near Pune will produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Union minister of petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the SAF pilot project on January 20. Pramod Chaudhari, founder and executive chairman, Praj Group, and officials of Indian Oil and other companies were present at the launch event. Praj and Indian Oil have a joint venture for the production of biofuel.

Puri said the Praj team had set up this project ahead of Brazil and said this would prove to be a flagship for the world. He said that there is a huge demand for biofuel in the international market and many countries around the world had high expectations from India for bio-turbine fuel. Last year, the minister received a Pune-Delhi flight after it completed its journey using aviation fuel made from alcohol.

The pilot plant is part of Praj’s plans to tap opportunities emerging from global biofuel blending mandates and SAF. Praj’s SAF business is readying for take-off as the aviation industry looks to go green. The company is offering alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuels and other biofuel offerings for this sector.

Praj GenX, a 100% subsidiary of Praj, is setting up the plant in Mangalore. Shishir Joshipura, CEO and managing director, Praj Industries, said this facility would serve the ETCA (energy transition and climate action) segment, where a strong inquiry pipeline was building up.

Praj is investing Rs 100 crore in Capex in the Praj GenX subsidiary. This expansion could add around Rs 2,000-2,500 crore to the company’s revenues when fully completed and operating at its peak, Joshipura said. This facility is under construction and will be operational by the end of this financial year. Customers are coming to audit and certify Praj’s Mangalore facilities and the approval process is underway. A debt-free company, Praj is funding expansion with its funds, Joshipura said.

International markets are opening up with blending mandates in Indonesia, Mexico, Canada, Europe and several African countries. Low-carbon ethanol opportunity is also emerging in the US, where Praj is conducting pre-project studies for several projects that would translate into firm business shortly.

Praj expects the ethanol conversion to SAF by using renewable feedstock such as biomass, sugar, starches, waste lipids and organic waste to be one of the biggest applications globally. India has a great potential to contribute to SAF by becoming a global refuelling location, Joshipura said. The EU and the USA have already set aggressive targets for the adoption of SAF.

Tags: ATJ, Hardeep Singh Puri, Praj GenX, Praj Industries, SAF
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