Chempolis, Fortum, NRL partner to build biorefinery in India

By Erin Voegele | May 03, 2018

Chempolis, Fortum and Numaligarh Revinery Ltd. have formed a joint venture to develop a biorefinery in India that will convert 300,000 tons of bamboo annually into ethanol, furfural, acetic acid and biocoal, which will be used to fuel a combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant.

Construction on the project, located in Assam, India, is scheduled to begin this fall. The facility is currently expected to begin operations in 2020.

NRL owns 50 percent of the joint venture, while Fortum owns 28 percent and Chempolis owns 22 percent.

The plant’s central processes will be based on Chempolis’s patented formicobio technology. “Our technology is the result of a long process of development, and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to prove its capabilities on a production scale,” said Tomi Honkala, president and CEO of Chempolis. “This project and these major partners create a solid foundation for strong growth and the future of our company,”

“Chempolis fractionation technology has huge potential to contribute to climate change mitigation. Technology enables resource efficient processing of biomasses to replace fossil or otherwise less sustainable raw materials,” said Heli Antila, chief technology officer at Fortum.

According to Fortum, the joint venture is part of its Bio2x research and development program, which aims to find ways to separate and utilize all usable fractions of biomass.

"In Bio2x program we are investigating new business opportunities with fractioning-based technologies and end-products of the process,” Antila said. “We believe that valuable end-products can be produced from biomass and used in place of fossil or other less sustainable raw materials.”