Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday opened the country’s first greenfield grain-based ethanol plant in Purnea and said ethanol production will help reduce the cost of petrol and generate employment.
The Rs 105-crore plant by Eastern India Biofuels Pvt Ltd is the first one developed since the Centre gave a go-ahead to Bihar’s ethanol production and promotion policy-2021.
Nitish said on the occasion: “We have made a start. We had been trying this since 2007. We had requested the then UPA government to give us the go-ahead when we received proposals for setting up ethanol units…. Now, 20 per cent ethanol can be mixed with petrol and diesel. The country will benefit immensely from ethanol production.”
State Industry Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain added: “Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have signed an agreement with 17 units with the approved capacity of 1080 kilolitre per day. Of these 17 units, Eastern India Biofuels will begin production from April 30. Two units in Gopalganj and one in Bhojour are also ready to begin production.”
The Purnea plant, built with latest technology using zero waste discharge, has been set up on about 15 acres of land and will buy 130 tons of rice husk and 145-150 tons of maize or rice from farmers every day, according to information provided.
The ethanol will be exclusively sold to Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum in the state and in neighbouring West Bengal and Jharkhand, for which a 10 year purchase agreement has been inked with the OMCs.
Why Bihar eyes more ethanol plants
With 18 of 38 Bihar’s districts falling in what is known as the corn belt, the state government has proposed opening at least 17 ethanol plants over the next two years. The state expects opening more such plants to benefit farmers, and the factories to generate employment for locals, especially in the Seemanchal belt comprising Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar and Araria districts.