Praj cellulosic ethanol plant is successful

By Susanne Retka Schill | February 04, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 13, 2009, at 1:00 p.m. CST

Praj Industries Ltd. recently announced its cellulosic ethanol pilot plant at Praj Matrix - The Innovation Centre had successfully demonstrated production of ethanol from corn cobs and sugarcane bagasse under varying operating conditions.

A new laboratory facility at Praj Matrix, the company's research and development center in Pune, India, began working on the company's process in April 2008, and on Feb. 10, the company announced the pilot plant had achieved its goals.

In scaling up its cellulosic ethanol process, the Praj team of scientists and technologists has reached 75 people in the past year. The team now plans to increase the process to commercial demonstration-scale. Praj has begun discussions with several distilleries where the company hopes to add on a demonstration-scale cellulosic module using its patent pending processes.

"We are proud to say that Praj Matrix facilities can now be counted as the best-in-class advanced biofuels research facilities across the globe," said Chairman Pramod Chaudhari. "It is perhaps also the only one of its kind on this side of the hemisphere. In fact, the break-through puts us right on top of the league with advanced nations."

Vinod Khosla, an investor in Praj, congratulated the company, noting that the Praj Matrix achievements are a fitting mark for the company's 25th anniversary. "The pilot plant indeed is a milestone and will certainly put Praj in the big league of advanced biofuels," Khosla said. "I foresee renewable fuels to sustain challenges through innovation, such as these."