CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu will soon hop on the EBP (Ethanol Based Petrol) bandwagon, as the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has approved the construction of the State's first grain-based ethanol plant in Virudhunagar.
As per the EAC report, the new distillery will be set up by a private firm in Melakallankulam village near Kariapatti in the southern district. The plant will come on a land area of 6.69 hectares and green belt will be developed on 39 per cent of the total project area. The project will come up at Rs. 165.28 crore and provide direct and indirect employment to 150 persons.
The proposed plant that will have 100 kilolitres per day will use broken rice and maize to produce ethanol. As per the report, there are no national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, wildlife corridors and others.
While addressing the nation on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government is pushing for ethanol mixing in petrol to reduce reliance on imported oil. Prior, the Union government has issued a national policy in 2018 to promote ethanol promotion from molasses, sugarcane and damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice to be used as fuel. Country's first grain-based ethanol production plant has already been set up in Bihar and several such projects have been approved across the country.
While recommending the project for grant of environmental clearance, the EAC ordered the firm to avail no-objection certificates from Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and concerned local authority before commencing the construction of the plant and drawing of the groundwater for the project activities.
It may be noted that the draft climate action plan released by the Chennai Corporation recently recommended increasing the ethanol blending in petrol and diesel to 30 per cent and 20 per cent by 2030 to fight climate change and global warming.