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LanzaTech to help IOC, JSPL set up bio jet fuel plant  

NZ Co LanzaTech to help IOC, JSPL set up bio jet fuel plant
MUMBAI: The New Zealand-based renewable energy company LanzaTech is in talks with its partners here - IndianOil and Jindal Steel & Power - to help them set up plant to produce commercial bio jet fuel from ethanol, a top company official has said. As a first step, LanzaTech will open an office in the country in the first half of 2012 as part of its plan to expand its operations here, LanzaTech vice-president for business development for Asia Pacific Prabhakar Nair said.

IndianOil and Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) are already in discussions for collaborating to accelerate deployment of LanzaTech's technology to produce fuel ethanol from industrial off-gases , he said. "We have done our best to bring these partners (Jindal and IOC) together . While Jindal Steel & Power has the off-gases , IndianOil has facilities to make, store and supply aviation fuel. We expect them to take a decision in a year and a half to set up a demonstration scale plant," Nair said.

However, he said, the proposed plan only includes technology sharing and not any investment in the plant and machinery . Nair also noted that British airline Virgin Atlantic has already committed that it will begin trials using renewable bio jet fuel on its Shanghai- New Delhi-London Heathrow route within two to three years. It may be recalled that Virgin Atlantic had announced a partnership with LanzaTech to conduct such trials last October and its chairman Richard Branson had even visited the New Zealand facilities, where the technology was demonstrated to him.

Besides, the European Union will begin allocating carbon emission quotas to airlines operating flights to and from the Union from today and Virgin Atlantic believes this development will take it well beyond its pledge of a 30 percent carbon cut per passenger km by 2020. "Globally , the aviation industry's current daily demand is around 5 million barrels of aviation fuel. Even if 10% of this is substituted with LanzaTech's aviation bio jet fuel, it will be a big market for us," Nair said.

LanzaTech has the technology to convert carbon monoxide, syngas as well as steel mill off-gases into ethanol and is in talks with all major steel producers in India, including JSPL, Posco and SAIL, he said. "China's demo scale plant at Bao Steel Shanghai is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012, which will produce 1 lakh gallons of ethanol annually. We expect JSPL and most likely IOC to begin working on a similar plant here. We hope Virgin's commitment to use bio jet fuel for trials is likely to encourage our partners," he said.

As recently as last December 5, the US awarded $7.7 million in Federal Aviation Administration contracts to eight biofuel-related companies to develop 'dropin' jet fuels that can be used without changing engine systems or airport fueling infrastructure, out of which deals worth $3 million were bagged by Lanza-Tech alone. This amount is over-and-above the funds allotted last June by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency for research on eco-friendly and low cost jet fuel from sources like rich carbon monoxide, Nair said.


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