Promoting biofuels
Many EU countries are fast developing a fuel ethanol programme. France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and others have announced either a policy or a grant for promotion of fuel ethanol.
Praj also has plans to set up an operating base in the EU shortly to augment its marketing efforts.

Our Bureau

Pune, Feb. 27

Praj Industries Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aker Kvaerner Netherlands B.V. for strategic co-operation on bio-ethanol projects in Europe.

Under the terms of the MoU, Aker Kvaerner and Praj will unite their expertise to jointly pursue business opportunities - Praj will supply the process licence, process engineering, and critical and proprietary equipment for the process plant, while Aker Kvaerner will provide basic engineering, procurement and construction expertise.

Mr Premed Chuddar, Chairman, Praj, said the European Union Bio-Fuels Directive has set a target of 5.75 per cent (by energy content) inclusion of bio-fuels in the transportation fuel mix by 2010.

Many EU countries are fast developing a fuel ethanol programme. France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and others have announced either a policy or a grant for promotion of fuel ethanol. Praj also has plans to set up an operating base in the EU shortly to augment its marketing efforts, he said.

As bio-ethanol is a renewable fuel derived from plants (such as cereals and sugar beet) or biomass (such as wood waste), the primary environmental benefit is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. The use of bio-ethanol can lead to reduction in overall carbon dioxide emissions by up to a 70 per cent compared to traditional petrol only engine.

Bio-ethanol used as part of the fuel, by blending with petrol, for a motor vehicle is called fuel-ethanol. Bio-ethanol can be blended in various proportions in petrol, said Mr Chuddar.

Synergistic tie-up

"As the demand for fuel ethanol grows, technology for production of bio-ethanol becomes more critical. We are therefore delighted to be co-operating with Praj in Europe. We see this as a synergistic alliance which will offer value to European customers in this important and expanding market segment," said Mr Ronald van deer Vilest, Director, Business Development and Technology, with Aker Varner's European Process business.

Praj specialises in technology, design, engineering, manufacture and supply of equipment for distillery plants, ethanol plants, brewery plants and related effluent treatment plants and is the owner of information related to various processes for the same.

Aker Kvaerner ASA, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a provider of engineering and construction services, technology products and integrated solutions.

The business within Aker Kvaerner comprises several industries, including oil and gas, refining and chemicals, mining and metals, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, power generation and pulp and paper.

The parent company in the group is Aker Kværner ASA. Aker Kvaerner has aggregated annual revenues of approximately NOK 41.5 billion (Rs 27,200 crore) and employs approximately 20,000 people in more than 30 countries.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 28, 2006)
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