Praj envisions to be a key stakeholder in the Indian government’s E20 vision – to achieve a 20% ethanol blending target by 2025. It offers technology solutions globally to produce the renewable transportation fuel, thus ensuring sustainable decarbonization through a circular bioeconomy. In an interview with Rusen Kumar, India CSR; Sachin Raole, Chief Financial Officer and Director (Resources), Praj Industries shared his views on the company’s recent interventions. Excerpts:
How is Praj Industries contributing toward sustainable development?
We have a strong conviction that the Bioeconomy is one of the very effective and efficient drivers of sustainable development in India. A bioeconomy is a knowledge economy that uses renewable natural resources to produce food, energy, products, and services.
In the bioeconomy space, Praj has pioneered the basket of innovative technology solutions in the form of Bio-Mobility and Bio-Prism. BioMobility, a platform of biofuels facilitates decarbonization in the transportation sector, Whereas the Bioprism portfolio of technology solutions in renewable chemicals & materials. Decarbonization can help in minimizing the carbon footprint and therefore greenhouse gas emissions are regarded as a major contributor to climate change. As a nation, India can drive Sustainable climate actions by mainstreaming the bioeconomy.
India’s endeavors in bioeconomy auger well in helping fulfill Panchamrit agenda- a roadmap for Race to Zero, announced by Prime Minister during COP26 Summit at Glasgow. India has also announced to achieve the Carbon Neutrality target by the year 2070.
Does Praj offer any solutions around wastewater management? If yes, please elaborate.
Praj has been at the forefront in offering the most techno-commercially viable technologies based on the principle of 3Rs – Reduce, Recycle and Reuse to treat complex industrial effluents.
The regulatory norms around effluent treatment are becoming more stringent day by day, making Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) solutions an imperative. A ZLD system implies that practically no liquid waste goes outside the boundaries of the process plants. Evaporation is the process of vaporisation that has been deployed for such ZLD solutions. Though Evaporation is considered heavily energy-intensive, with Praj’s unique heat integration technologies, the total energy requirements can be reduced drastically to ensure energy efficiency. Depending on customer requirements, we offer a range of solutions such as recycling & reuse, evaporation & crystallisation in designing ZLD systems.
Through our offerings, Ultra-Filtration, Nano-Filtration and Reverse Osmosis plants with up to 95% effluent recycling. Our Zero Liquid Discharge and recovery systems provide an efficient way to treat industrial waste. The unique patented Solvent Recovery Systems provides complex effluent treatment solutions.
Our vision is to make the world a better place by developing and deploying innovative technology solutions for sustainability, conservation of the environment and natural resources like water.
How important are biofuels in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and achieving India’s climate mission?
Energy is an important driving force for the industrial and economic growth of any nation. Although its gradually changing fossil resources continue to dominate the global energy landscape. The need of the hour is that more and more nations should embrace the usage of a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels – Biofuels and reap its enormous benefits.
The transportation and industrial sectors are identified as the top two energy consumers as well as GHG emitters. Bioeconomy is one of the very effective and efficient solutions to combat the evil effects of Climate Change. Bioeconomy is a knowledge economy that uses renewable natural resources to produce food, energy, products, and services. Bioeconomy utilizes bio-based resources with no or minimal addition of new carbon in the atmosphere, helping curb and decarbonize the emissions.
Praj has developed indigenous technology to process bio-based feedstock such as sugary, starchy, lignocellulosic as well as industrial wastes into an array of biofuels, both in liquid and gaseous form. These low-carbon transportation fuels are decarbonizing across all modes of transportation.
How is Praj contributing to the government’s E20 mission? The potential of 2G ethanol in mitigating environmental hazards and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
India has recently approved the National Biofuel Policy-2018 with several amendments, the major being advancing the blending target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol to 2025-26 from 2030 earlier and allowing more feedstocks to produce biofuels. It is aligned with the mission to reduce the import of fossil fuels, facilitate energy security and as a measure curb GreenHouse Gases (GHG) emissions.
Praj has built capabilities across the value chain- from Concept to Commissioning and Care for Life to produce ethanol from sugary, starchy, and lignocellulosic feedstock. Praj solutions have helped minimize energy and carbon emissions while optimizing utility footprints to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of ethanol plants.
Praj is working closely with key stakeholders such as Auto OEMs, testing bodies, leading educational institutions, and regulators to accelerate countries’ ethanol blending programs.
What are your plans going forward concerning green technologies?
Any nation’s growth strategy is built on the strength of the resources it possesses. India is blessed with an abundant bio-based feedstock that it must leverage. Enough availability of sugary & starchy feedstocks along with crop residues and industrial wastes is a distinct advantage. Deploying biobased feedstock in the production of biofuels and biochemicals is helping the mainstream Bioeconomy in India’s growth story.
One of the unique aspects of India’s growth story in biofuels is its strong capability in developing and deploying home-grown innovative technology solutions. Praj’s success in the Bioeconomy is based on the bedrock of home-grown expertise in Feedstock – Technology- Product (F-T-P). While biofuels are an already established solution for decarbonization in surface mobility, we are experiencing strong traction ushering from the air as well as water transportation. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and Marine Biofuels along with Bio-Hydrogen and Bio-Methanol comprise the Nex-Gen Fuels.
A new wave is now ushering in the industrial revolution. Bioeconomy is envisaged as an integral part of industry 5.0 acceding due importance to sustainability in all business endeavours. The emphasis is going to be on deeper penetration of green energy in the overall energy basket and adoption of green products & materials. This demonstrates mainstreaming of the bioeconomy as part of the global economy.
Any message you would like to give to our readers on this Environment Day?
In a world threatened by climate change, the drive towards an environmentally friendly economy is not an option, it is an obligation.
There has been an exponential rise in climate calamities in the past two decades which is a matter of grave concern. It is high time climate actions are taken very seriously at all levels. Bioeconomy holds great promise for sustainable climate actions by the way of decarbonization and carbon recycling.
It is vital to educate all the stakeholders to bring awareness about innovative technologies and sustainable solutions that can help achieve a clear and greener future. Envisioning Biofuels as a vital and prime energy source can facilitate India’s progression and prospects as an Energy Self-Sufficient and Self-Reliant nation.
This year’s theme for World Environment Day is ‘Only One Earth’, which highlights the need for us to live sustainably in harmony with nature by bringing transformative changes through eco-friendly policies and living with simple life choices aiming to achieve a cleaner greener planet.
About the Author
Rusen Kumar is the founder and editor at India CSR.