With an aim to cut pollution caused by stubble burning in Haryana, Delhi region, a new 2nd generation (2G) ethanol plant was recently (August 10) dedicated to the nation by PM Narendra Modi on World Biofuel Day. Set up in Panipat, the plant will face its first test soon in the approaching winter when the stubble burning season starts.
What does this plant aim to achieve?
Built by the Indian Oil Corporation at the cost of over Rs 900 crore, the plant, based on indegenous technology, is located close to the Panipat refinery. It aims to utilise about 2 lakh tonnes of rice straw (crop-residue) annually to generate around 3 crore litres of ethanol annually.
“The project will have zero liquid discharge. By reducing the burning of rice straw (crop-residue), the project will reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to about 3 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions per year. Simply put, this is like taking away nearly 63,000 cars annually from the country’s roads,” the government says.
The plant would generate ethanol by using paddy straw as raw material. It will help in management of paddy straw leading to lesser requirement of in-situ management.
How is it going to help the farmers?
The biofuel plant will be able to get rid of stubble without burning it. Government says that creating an end-use for the agri-crop residue would empower farmers and provide an additional income generation opportunity. It adds that the project would provide direct employment to people involved in the plant operation and indirect employment would be generated in the supply chain for rice straw cutting, handling, storage etc.
The PM, who listed out five benefits of the plant, said that the first advantage would be a check on stubble burning.
“The second advantage would be that new systems for stubble cutting and its disposal, new facilities for transportation and new biofuel plants will bring new employment opportunities in all these villages. The third advantage would be that stubble that was a burden for the farmers…would become a means of additional income for them,” he said, adding that the fourth advantage will be that pollution will be reduced, and the contribution of farmers in protecting the environment will increase further. “And the fifth benefit will be that the country will also get an alternative fuel,” he said.
Why was the plant approved?
In April, Haryana Cabinet gave its nod for setting up the 2G ethanol plant of 100 KLPD capacity by the IOC at Bohali in district Panipat. The approval was given to the proposal mooted by Development and Panchayats Department to sell the land measuring 59.11 kanal of Gram Panchayat, Bohali to IOCL.
Are there other similar biofuel plants in Haryana?
Haryana has set up 64.3 MW biomass power projects that consume 2.37 lakh MT of paddy straw, while another 2.41 lakh MT of paddy straw is being used by other industries.
Another six such projects of 60.35 MW production capacity, which will utilize 6.4 lakh MT of paddy straw, are being set up along with one compressed biogas plant of 12.5 tonnes per day capacity using 40,000 MT of paddy straw.
Is Haryana taking other steps to deal with air pollution?
Around 47% of Haryana comes under NCR. Total area under paddy in Haryana is 34.10 lakh acres (57% Basmati and 43% non-Basmati). As many as 34,372 machines (besides 19,353 rotavators which are removed from the list of Crop Residue Management (CRM) implements by the Centre) are available in Haryana with individual farmers in 4,224 Custom Hiring Centers.
Villages are being categorized into Red, Yellow and Green zones in terms of incidences of crop residue burning based on the data provided by the Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC) to the Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department. Haryana is providing a subsidy on CRM machines that is 50% for individuals and 80% for Custom Hiring Centers.
An amount of Rs 198.53 crore is available under the scheme.Haryana is also implementing a state scheme for providing an incentive rate of Rs 1,000 per acre on paddy straw management.